Feb. 12, 2005
BOCA RATON - Two losses Saturday at the Worth Invitational dropped the Florida Atlantic University softball team to 1-10 on the year and made them the number four seed for Sunday's final slate of games in the five-team tournament. The Owls lost 10-4 to #20 Georgia Tech, 1-0 to Northwestern, and will face Boston College on Sunday at 9 a.m. with the winner to face third seed Northwestern at 11 a.m.
Against the Yellow Jackets, the Owls had the daunting task of facing staff ace, senior Jessica Sallinger, who went 31-10 in 2004. Tech jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead in the first, but FAU tied it up in the top of the second when freshman Lauren Crandall knocked in senior Pam Mazzarella with a double to right-center.
FAU looked to be getting out of the bottom of the inning when Caitlin Lever popped up into foul ground behind third base with the bases loaded and two outs, but junior Jessica Sachs dropped the ball. Lever capitalized immediately on the error, driving in two runs with a single up the middle of FAU starter, sophomore Tara Grady. Aileen Morales also scored on the play thanks to another error, and Lever crossed home when the next batter, Christine Sheridan, drove her in with an RBI single, making the score 5-1.
Sallinger cruised through the third and things looked ominous for the Owls, but Crandall stepped up again in the fourth to cut the lead to one. With two on, two outs, and a 0-2 count, Crandall crushed a Sallinger pitch over the wall in left for a three-run home run, the first of her career. The three earned runs driven in on the blast were the most given up by Sallinger in a game since 2003.
The Owls hopes of a comeback victory were quickly crushed, however, as the Ramblin' Wreck scored twice in the bottom of the fourth and three more times in the fifth to make the score 10-4. Sallinger finished with 14 strikeouts on the day as Tech improved to 7-0 on the season and secured the number one
In the game's final day, it was a repeat of Friday night's finale as the Owls dropped another 1-0 decision. Starters Eileen Canney and FAU's Candice Freel battled for four scoreless innings before Northwestern finally broke the deadlock in the fifth. Megan Hinck led off with a single and scored when next batter, Jessica Miller, doubled off the center field wall.
FAU threatened in all three of the final innings, but left a total of five on base in those innings, including two in a painful seventh. Senior Jessica Braggins lead off with a single and was followed by senior Jenn Piazza, who also singled. Unfortunately, Crandall could not repeat her heroics of earlier in the day and struck out, pinch-hitter Courtney Raney could only ground out to the pitcher and Grady ended the game with a pinch-hit grounder to second.
Canney held the Owls to just five hits in a complete-game, eight strikeout effort, while sophomore Meghan Doonan pitched two innings of hitless
In Sunday's championship game, top seed Georgia Tech (6-0) will take on second-seeded Bethune-Cookman (7-3) at 11 a.m. Bethune edged out Northwestern via their victory over them on Friday.
Saturday's tournament scores
Northwestern 2, Boston College 0
Boston College 4, Bethune-Cookman 1
Georgia Tech 4, Bethune-Cookman 0
Georgia Tech 10, Florida Atlantic 4
Northwestern 1, Florida Atlantic 0
Final Round-Robin Standings
Georgia Tech 4-0
Florida Atlantic 1-3
Boston College 1-3