Jessica Braggins - big day at the plate Friday
Feb. 18, 2005
BOCA RATON - Wins over Rutgers and Ohio State on Friday gave the Florida Atlantic University softball team a 2-0 start to the FAU Classic. The Owls defeated the Scarlet Knights 7-2 and the Buckeyes 12-3 to improve to 3-11 on the season and join Michigan as the only undefeated teams in the tournament.
In the win over Rutgers, FAU jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first, capitalizing on three errors by the Scarlet Knights infield. Jessica Sachs walked to lead off the inning and advanced to third on Danielle Arriaga's single with one out. Pam Mazzarella walked to load the bases and then fellow senior Jessica Braggins drove in Sachs and Arriaga with a single up the middle.
An error by the Rutgers shortstop, Maggie Geraldi, scored Mazzarella and Braggins crossed the plate next on an error by the second baseman, making the score 4-0. Charlotte Baird reached on Geraldi's second error of the inning before Sachs, up for the second time in the inning, drove in freshman Lauren Crandall to complete the scoring in the first.
The Owls added two more in the third when Baird scored on a wild pitch and Arriaga drove in Sachs with her second single of the night.
Owls starter Candice Freel, who allowed only two hits while striking out six, came out to start the fifth inning, but was replaced by Tara Grady before throwing a pitch. Rutgers got to Grady immediately, scoring twice off the sophomore to cut the lead to 7-2.
Grady eventually settled down, going the final three innings for the save, the first of her collegiate career.
Against the Buckeyes it was a case of dejavu early for the Owls as they scored four unearned runs with two outs in the third to open the scoring.
With the bases loaded, Mazzarella hit a ball that managed to get between the legs of Buckeyes first baseman Christina Douglas, scoring Sachs and Jenna Lopez. Braggins, up next, also reached on an error, this time by the third baseman Billie Jo Carder. Moore scored on the play, as did Mazzarella when the next batter, Jenn Piazza, hit a bloop single down the right-field line.
Ohio State quickly cut the Owls lead in half in the bottom of the inning when Douglas made up for her error with a two-run, two-out single up the middle, but the Owls got their lead back and more with three runs in the top of the fourth off Buckeyes starter Jamee Juarez.
FAU blew things open in the top of the sixth with a five-run inning. Arriaga's second home run of the season, a two-run shot to left, started things off. Freshman catcher Courtney Raney picked up the first RBI of her career with a bases-loaded single up the middle and RBI walks to Jenna Lopez and Sachs finished things off.
Meghan Doonan picked her first win as an Owl with a complete game, six-hit effort, while Sachs had three RBI and three runs scored. Braggins improved her average on the season to .333 with a 5-for-7 day, while Jenna Lopez now has a five-game hit streak.
FAU will continue tournament play on Sunday with a 5 p.m. game against Pittsburgh and a 7 p.m. game against No. 8 Michigan. Play gets underway at 9 a.m. when Rutgers take on NC State in a battle of winless teams. Daily tickets for the FAU Classic are only $10 for adults and $7 for youths and seniors and are available at the gate.
Michigan 3, NC State 0
Michigan 3, Pittsburgh 0
Pittsburgh 9, NC State 2
Ohio State 8, Rutgers 0
Florida Atlantic 7, Rutgers 2
Florida Atlantic 12, Ohio State 3