Feb. 25, 2005
Columbus, Ga. - The Florida Atlantic University softball team came away winless on Friday after their first two games in the NFCA Leadoff Classic. The Owls (6-15) fell 6-1 to Creighton in their first game before losing 2-1 to No. 7 Alabama in the nightcap. Senior first baseman Pam Mazzarella had a solo home run against Creighton, while senior Candice Freel pitched a complete game four-hitter against the Crimson Tide. FAU will face Oregon (6-6) on Saturday in their final round-robin game before re-seeding.
In Friday's opener, the Owls had the bases loaded with two outs in the bottom of the first thanks to three walks by Creighton senior ace Tammy Nielsen, but failed to plate a run when Jen Piazza struck out swinging.
FAU starter Meghan Doonan, meanwhile, looked sharp early on, striking out seven Blue Jays in the first four innings. She also wriggled her way out of a bases-loaded jam in the third, forcing Mary Egan to fly out to left.
After her first inning wildness, Nielsen settled down and struck out five of the next six Owls. Sandwiched in-between the strike outs was a single up the middle by Jessica Sachs that broke up the no-hitter.
Creighton (4-2) finally broke the scoreless deadlock in the top of the fifth with a six-run outburst. Four of the six runs were unearned and three came with two outs.
A leadoff home run by senior Pam Mazzarella, her second of the year and the second of two Owls hits in the game, put the Owls on the board in the bottom of the sixth but the semi-rally was quickly extinguished when Nielsen, who finished with 15 k's, struck out the side.
In the nightcap against Alabama, the early-inning pitching duel theme continued as FAU's Candice Freel and the Crimson Tide's Jen Wright traded strikeouts for four-plus innings. The only run during that span came in the third when Alabama capitalized on a catcher's interference call.
An Ashley Courtney fly ball to right was caught by Jen Piazza, but Courtney was called safe at first when FAU's freshman catcher Courtney Raney was judged to have clipped Courtney's bat with her glove. Courtney later scored on a Staci Ramsey RBI double down the left field line.
FAU tied things up in the top of the fifth, with Freel scoring to help her own cause. After being hit by a pitch, Freel advanced to second on a Raney sacrifice bunt, and then scored on a Jenna Lopez single to left.
The game remained at 1-1 until the bottom of the seventh. Pinch-hitter Mandy Burford led off with a walk, bringing Courtney to the plate. Courtney drove a ball deep to center field, but Jennifer Cavanaugh appeared to have a beat on it. Instead, the ball bounced in and out of her glove, allowing Courtney to score the game-winning run from first.
NOTES: Junior shortstop Danielle Arriaga reinjured her right ankle against Creighton and will miss the remainder of the tournament.
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