March 18, 2005
BOCA RATON - For the third time this season, the Florida Atlantic University team has opened play in one of their home tournaments with a split.
In Friday's opening day round-robin action at the FAU Parents' Weekend Tournament, the Owls (17-20) saw their eight-game win streak come to an end with a 6-2 loss to No. 12 Texas A&M. In the day's finale, FAU defeated Wisconsin 4-3. Junior Danielle Arriaga's three-run home run combined with sophomore Meghan Doonan not allowing an earned run, powered the Owls in the win over the Badgers. FAU will conclude round-robin play with two games on Saturday before bracket play begins Sunday.
Against the twelfth-ranked Aggies, the Owls got off to a quick start, scoring one run in each of the first two innings. Both runs came via wild pitches.
In the first, junior Jessica Sachs reached on a wild throw from Aggie first baseman Megan Gibson and advanced to second on the error. A nice sac bunt by Christina Thompson moved Sachs over to third before the FAU second baseman scored on a wild pitch by A&M starter Jill Weynand.
FAU starter Candice Freel cruised through the first five innings, striking out five Aggies while allowing only three hits, but the senior right-hander ran into a ton of trouble in the sixth.
A lead-off bunt from Sharonda McDonald appeared to hit her bat in live territory, but the Aggie speedster was awarded first base. Hinshaw then looped a swinging bunt over the charging Sachs and Freel followed that with a walk to Gibson that loaded the bases.
Next batter Amanda Scarborough grounded to FAU's Danielle Arriaga at short. Arriaga's throw home to Courtney Raney was on the money but McDonald was called safe at the plate, much to the disgust of FAU head coach Joan Joyce.
Adrian Gregory then stepped up and drove in two runs and a Spencer RBI single made it 4-2 to the Aggies one batter later. With the bases loaded once more, Jenna Lopez continued her unbelievable defensive play in center field with her third spectacular catch of the week to end the inning.
Gregory doubled her RBI total in the seventh to finish the scoring and put to rest any hope of an Owls upset. The senior finished the game 3-for-4 with four RBI while no Owls player had more than one hit.
In the victory over Wisconsin, the Badgers threatened in the first with runners on the corners and one out but a pop fly to first and a nice defensive play by freshman second baseman Melissa Moore got the Owls out of the inning.
The Badgers did eventually break through first in the bottom of the fourth, taking a 1-0 lead when Boo Gillette scored an unearned run on an RBI single by Joey Daniels
FAU responded in the top of the fifth in emphatic fashion with four runs of their own. With Jenna Lopez on first and one out, Charlotte Baird laid down an attempted sacrifice bunt towards third. Gillette picked up the ball, but threw wide to first, allowing Lopez to score.
Three batters later, and with two on, Arriaga put the Owls up for good with a three-run home run to left field, her third round-tripper of the season.
The Badgers did cut the lead to 4-3 in the sixth when sloppy Owls fielding led to two unearned runs, and they almost tied things up in the bottom of the seventh, but Doonan struck out Anastasia Miller with the tying run on third to end the game.
The Owls will continue round-robin play on Saturday evening with games against Tulsa at 5 p.m. and Michigan State at 7 p.m. Tickets for this weekend's tournament are $10 for adults and $7 for youth/seniors and can be purchased in advance by calling 1-866-FAU-OWLS, or at the gate.
No. 12 Texas A&M 7, Michigan State 0
Michigan State 3, Tulsa 1
No. 12 Texas A&M 6, Florida Atlantic 2
Tulsa 2, Florida International 1
Wisconsin 5, Florida International 0
Florida Atlantic 4, Wisconsin 3