Jan. 31, 2004
TAMPA, FL - Despite playing through rain most of the day, Florida Atlantic University opened its season with a pair of victories at the USF "Louisville Slugger" Tournament. FAU (2-0) came from behind to defeat Bethune-Cookman, 3-2, and then defeated South Florida, 10-3, in a rain-shortened game. Both wins came against teams FAU faced in the NCAA Tournament a year ago. Candice Freel and Amanda Morin picked up the victories. Jenn Piazza and Jessica Sachs each hit homers for the Lady Owls.
"I thought we hit the ball well today, especially in the second game" said FAU head coach Joan Joyce. "These were two good wins for us against good teams. I also thought we did a great job pitching."
In the opener, FAU scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to come from behind and defeat the Wildcats. Bethune-Cookman opened the scoring in the fourth when it 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. 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.
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 and had at least one strikeout in all but one inning.
The win improved FAU to 15-0, all-time, against Bethune-Cookman.
Against USF, FAU wasted no time getting on the board. Piazza connected for a one-out, three-run homer to give the Lady Owls a 3-0 lead. Later in the inning, Amy Bellisari had an RBI-single to score Piper and make it 4-0.
In the second, Sachs led off with her first homer of the year. In the fourth, FAU tacked on three more runs. The first two came across when Piper hit a slow-roller past the pitcher and into a vacant spot between first and second base. Piazza later scored on a wild pitch to give FAU an 8-0 lead. In the fifth, Lopez had a run-scoring triple that was followed by an RBI-single by Lauren Evans.
USF scored three runs in the bottom of the fifth to pull to within 10-3. Later in the bottom of the sixth and FAU leading 12-4, heavy rain forced the game to be called. That erased all action from the top of the sixth and on.
Morin (1-0) allowed three runs, two earned, on three hits. She walked four and struck out four. The win extends her personal winning streak to 16 going back to the end of 2003. FAU outhit the Bulls 14-3.
For the day, Piper and Sachs each had three hits. Lopez, Bellisari, Braggins, Piazza, and Pam Mazzarella each had two hits. FAU had 19 hits in 48 at-bats.
In the other game of the day, USF defeated BCC 10-2 in five innings.
Florida Atlantic faces Bethune-Cookman again on Sunday at 11:00am followed by USF at 1:00pm.