Jan. 31, 2004
TAMPA, FL - In its season opener, Florida Atlantic University (1-0) scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to come from behind and defeat Bethune-Cookman College, 3-2, Saturday afternoon in Tampa, FL. The game was the first of two on the day as FAU began play at the USF "Louisville Slugger" Tournament. Candice Freel picked up the complete-game victory, allowing four hits, no earned runs, with nine strikeouts.
The Wildcats (0-3) opened the scoring in the fourth when they scored two unearned runs. Amber Jackson led off and reached on an error. Later in the inning, with runners at second and third, Melanie Johnson doubled to score both Jackson and Andrea Thomas to put BCC up 2-0.
FAU broke through in the bottom of the fourth. Jenn Piazza drew a two-out walk, and Freel doubled to right-center to drive in Piazza and make it 2-1 BCC.
Neither team mounted serious threats in the fifth or sixth innings. During that span, Freel continued to dominate the Wildcats' lineup. In fact, she retired the last seven batters she faced and struck out the side in the seventh.
In the bottom of the seventh, Callie Piper led off with a single to center. Freshman Jenna Lopez pinch-ran for Piper and advanced to second on a Jenn Cavanaugh sacrifice. On the next play, Jessica Braggins singled to left, and Lopez beat the throw home to tie the game at 2-2. On the same play, Braggins came around to score the winning run after the throw down to second was high, sending the ball into deep right center field.
The game was played through a light rain as FAU outhit Bethune-Cookman, 5-4. Freel (1-0) did not allow an earned run and gave up four hits. She struck out nine and walked just one. Freel had at least one strikeout in all but one inning.
The win improved FAU to 15-0, all-time, against Bethune-Cookman. FAU is scheduled to face USF Saturday at 5:00pm.