March 20, 2005
BOCA RATON - It was a disappointing day for the Florida Atlantic University softball team on Saturday as the Owls lost twice in round-robin play at their own Parents' Weekend tournament to fall to 1-3 in the event. FAU (17-22) were upended 6-2 in eight innings by Tulsa before being beaten by the same score against Michigan State. The Owls ended round-robin play as the fourth seed and will take on Tulsa again on Sunday at 11 a.m. The championship game scheduled for 1 p.m. will see top-seeded Texas A&M versus Michigan State.
In the loss to Tulsa, the Golden Hurricane scored single unearned runs in the second and third innings off FAU starter Meghan Doonan, the sixth and seventh consecutive unearned runs allowed by the sophomore who has received little defensive help in her recent outings.
FAU left two on in the fourth when Jenn Piazza struck out swinging to end the inning and one more in the fifth, but the Owls finally did get on the board in the sixth thanks to a pitching change by Tulsa.
Golden Hurricane starter Lindsay Dyer, who had allowed only three hits in the first five innings, was lifted for Julie Fennell. The Owls took immediate advantage of the bizarre switch by scoring twice with two outs to tie things up at 2-2. The first run came via Jessica Braggins' fourth homer of the year while the second, game-tying run came courtesy of a Jenn Piazza RBI single that scored pinch runner Marlene Lopez.
Neither team could break the deadlock in the seventh and so the game progressed into extra innings with the international tiebreaker rule in effect.
With runners on second and third with one out in the top of the eighth, Tulsa's Kelly Miller drove a ball deep down the left field line. Piazza ranged over and had two choices to make: either catch the ball for the second out and let the run score from third, or let the ball drop into foul territory. Piazza chose the latter option but unfortunately the ball dropped fair, allowing both runs to score.
Next batter Sara Dyer then put the Golden Hurricane up by four with a two-run blast two right that made it 6-2. The Owls had no answer in the bottom of the inning as they saw their chance of making the title game slip away with the loss.
The nightcap against Michigan State meant a lot more to the Spartans than it did to the Owls. MSU needed a win to secure a spot in the title game against Texas A&M while FAU had already booked their spot in the 3/4 game at 11 a.m. on Sunday.
The difference in motivation became apparent in the first inning as the Spartans took a 2-0 lead on RBI singles by Caitlin Mahoney and Dana Rosenblatt.
MSU made it 6-0 in the fourth as the sloppy defensive play that has plagued the Owls throughout the year contributed to four unearned runs for the Spartans. FAU showed signs of life with a pair of unearned runs of their own in the seventh, but it was all too little too late.
Tickets for Sunday's final day of the Parents' Weekend Tournament are only $10 for adults and $7 for youth and seniors and can be purchased by calling 1-866-FAU-OWLS or at the gate.
Texas A&M 5, Florida International 1
Texas A&M 13, Wisconsin 5
Michigan State 4, Florida International 1
Tulsa 4, Wisconsin 2
Tulsa 6, Florida Atlantic 2 (8 inn.)
Michigan State 6, Florida Atlantic 2
Final round-robin standings
1. Texas A&M 4-0
2. Michigan State 3-1
3. Tulsa 3-1
4. Florida Atlantic 1-3
5. Wisconsin 1-3
6. Florida International 0-4
9 a.m. - Wisconsin vs. Florida International
11 a.m. - Tulsa vs. Florida Atlantic
1 p.m. - Texas A&M vs. Michigan State (championship game)