March 5, 2005
BOCA RATON, FL - The Florida Atlantic University softball team split their opening two games of their own Doubletree Worth Classic on Saturday. The Owls (7-18) defeated UMass 5-0 before falling 2-1 to Bethune-Cookman in the day's finale. Seniors Jessica Braggins and Jen Piazza led the way for FAU on the day with two RBI apiece, while senior Candice Freel threw a complete game shutout in the win over UMass.
Against the Minutewomen (2-5), the Owls opened their scoring with two runs in the top of the first. With one out, senior Jenn Piazza blooped a ball into shallow right-center field, scoring junior Jessica Sachs and senior PamMazzarella.
FAU starter Candice Freel got out of a two-on, one-out jam in the bottom of the inning but then coasted the rest of the way, allowing a total of only three hits. Freel, who improved to 5-6 with the win, struck out six Minutewomen while walking only one.
The Owls extended their lead in the third when a Jessica Braggins drive to left-center just sneaked over the wall for a solo home run, the senior's second round-tripper of the year. An RBI triple by Jenna Lopez made it 4-0 in the sixth and then Braggins snagged her second RBI of the game with a seventh-inning double that scored Mazzarella to finish things off.
In the loss to B-CC, the Wildcats drew first blood, taking a 1-0 lead in the top of the third. Melanie Johnson, who had reached on a single, stole two bases before scoring on a hit by Capree Williams that cannoned off FAU starter Meghan Doonan's leg.
The Owls tied things up in the fourth on some heads-up base running by pinch runner Marlene Lopez. With Lauren Crandall on first and Lopez on second, pinch hitter Jennifer Cavanaugh hit a sharp grounder that B-CC starter Katie Finn could only deflect with her glove. The ball bounced kindly to Tiffany Bowser at second base who then dived to the bag to force out Crandall. Meanwhile, Lopez, who had advanced to third, saw that Bowser was helpless on the ground and scampered home to tie things at 1-1.
Bethune regained their one run lead in the sixth thanks to Andrea Thomas' RBI single and never looked like losing their advantage until the bottom of the eighth. FAU loaded the bases, but reliever Vivica Patterson forced freshman Melissa Moore into hitting a weak grounder to third, forcing Jenna Lopez out on the play to end the game.
FAU resumes tournament play on Sunday with an 11:00 a.m. contest against No. 22 Florida International.
UMass 3, No. 22 Florida International 0
Florida Atlantic 5, UMass 0
Bethune-Cookman 1, No. 22 Florida International 0 (8 inn.)
Bethune-Cookman 2, Florida Atlantic 1