March 4, 2012
LAS VEGAS, NV - The Florida Atlantic softball team lost a heartbreaker Sunday morning to finish up play at the 2012 Eller Media Stadium Classic, falling to Illinois, 7-6.
For the third time on the weekend, the Owls took an early 5-run lead, only to see it evaporate. On Sunday, the lead was gained on the strength of a six-run 2nd inning.
Down 1-0, after two runners had reached and with one out, Whitley Herb sliced an RBI single into leftfield to plate Jordan Stovall for the first FAU run, and Heather Barnes forced in run number two (Joshlyn Martinez) with a bases loaded walk. Then, with the bases still full, Carly Speerin broke out of a weekend-long slump with a long grand slam to left-center, giving FAU a 6-1 advantage.
Illinois immediately came back with four runs in the top of the 3rd inning and tied it in the 5th on an illegal pitch. Relief pitcher Pepper Gay shut down the FAU bats, and with two outs in the top of the 7th, an Illini home run off the foul pole in leftfield put the Owls down 7-6.
Stephanie Call led off the last inning for the Owls with their first hit off Gay, and a 2-out walk to Alison Milam threatened the one-run lead by putting the tying run (pinch-runner Sara Rotunno) in scoring position, but a line out ended it.
Despite a great effort in relief, the loss was pinned on freshman Samantha Messer (1-1). She only gave up two hits and didn't walk a batter in four innings of work.
FAU drops to 6-13 on the season, and will have their first three of 14 straight home games beginning Wednesday against Sun Belt Conference foe Western Kentucky. Doubleheader times at the FAU Softball Stadium that night are 6:00 and 8:00.
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