Feb. 26, 2005
Columbus, Ga. - For a second consecutive day, the Florida Atlantic University softball team lost twice at the NFCA Leadoff Classic on Saturday, falling 5-0 to Oregon and 2-0 to DePaul. The Owls (6-17) will play in a bronze medal bracket consolation semifinal against Michigan State on Sunday morning at 9 a.m.
In the loss to No. 18 Oregon, the Owls wasted a wonderful pitching performance from sophomore right-hander Ashley Greene and blew a golden chance to win the game in the bottom of the eighth inning.
Greene cruised through her first eight innings, allowing only six hits while striking out three, matching her opposing starter Amy Harris shutout inning for shutout inning.
The Owls loaded the bases in the bottom of the eighth with no outs and appeared to have the upset victory in their grasp. The next Owl batter, Candice Freel, hit a shallow fly ball to left. Pinch runner Marlene Lopez was sent home from third, but was tagged out at the plate to complete the double play. After an intentional walk to Pam Mazzarella reloaded the bases, Jessica Braggins could only pop up to shortstop, ending the inning.
Oregon entered the ninth breathing a huge sigh of relief and produced a five-run outburst, sparked by a controversial no-call on a runners interference play down the first base line.
With Ashley Richards on first and one out, Kristi Jorgensen bunted down towards first base and appeared to interfere with Mazzarella's path to the ball. Mazzarella stepped around Jorgensen, picked up the ball, and made the only play she could to Melissa Moore covering at first, while Richards advanced to second.
Coach Joan Joyce left her dugout to protest the no-call, but Richards remained at second as the ruling stood. Immediately, the Ducks took full advantage of the swing in momentum when Ann Marie Topps doubled to right center, scoring Richards.
Erin Goodell then singled home Topps before scoring on a Suzie Barnes double, making it 3-0, and a Lovena Chaput two-run home run completed the scoring.
The loss to Oregon gave the Owls a 0-3 record in round-robin play and sent them to the bronze medal bracket, where they would face DePaul in Saturday's finale on the South Commons Field Number Four.
Starters Freel and Megan Huitink were almost untouchable early on, striking out opposing batters left and right. The two combined for a total of 23 strikeouts on the night.
In between all the strikes, DePaul used two singles sandwiched around a stolen base to take a 1-0 lead in the second and then doubled that lead in the third when Sara Bandauski scored on a passed ball.
The Owls, meanwhile, could not figure out Huitink as the sophomore recorded a no-hitter, the first of her collegiate career. The transfer from Illinois struck out 12 of the 24 batters she faced and only allowed Jenn Piazza to reach base via two walks.