Candice Freel, last year's A-Sun Freshman-of-the-Year, struck out a career-high 12 batters in the first game and picked up the win, in relief, in game two.
March 28, 2003
Florida Atlantic University entered Friday's doubleheader with Samford University having never lost to the Bulldogs in 10 previous meetings. FAU kept that streak alive with a 2-0 win in the first game of its A-Sun opener but trailed by three runs entering the sixth inning of game two. However, two runs in that frame and three more in the seventh helped keep the Lady Owls perfect against the Bulldogs as they took game two, 7-5.
Candice Freel had a career night in picking up both wins while Ebony Gray belted a two-run, walk-off, homer in the seventh of game two. Gray's homer came two batter after Pam Mazzarella tied the game with a lead-off homer. FAU improved to 20-19 on the year and 2-0 in the A-Sun. Samford dropped to 18-9 and 4-2.
In the first game, Freel dominated from the outset. The sophomore struck out six of the first eight batters she faced and didn't allow a hit until the top of the fourth. In the fifth, Samford's Angela Bednark led off with a triple, but was stranded after Freel struck out the next three batters to keep the game scoreless.
In the bottom of the fifth, FAU loaded the bases with two outs before Braggins singled to right center. That drove in Jenn Piazza and Jennifer Cavanaugh to give FAU a 2-0 lead. That proved to be more than enough as Freel cruised to the complete game shutout. She allowed two hits and walked two to go along with a career-high 12 strikeouts.
Samford wasted no time getting on the board in the second game. The Bulldogs plated three runs in the top of the first inning, including a two-run homer by Angela Bednark. After Samford made it 4-0 in the top of the second, FAU scored two unearned runs in the bottom of the inning. Lauren Evans and Jessica Sachs each had RBI-singles to pull FAU to within 4-2. The Bulldogs scored again in the fifth to make it 5-2.
FAU rallied in the sixth by loading the bases with no outs. Jessica Sachs followed with an RBI-single to pull the Lady Owls within 5-3. A sacrifice fly by Ginny Matthews made it 5-4 and advanced the runners to second and third with one out. Braggins fouled out to first and Callie Piper grounded to short to end the inning.
FAU completed the comeback in the seventh as Mazzarella led off with a homer run to right field. It was the sophomore's second homer of the year and it tied the game at 5-5. After Piazza singled, Gray came up and belted her second homer of the season over the left-center field wall to end the game.
Freel (10-6) picked up the win in relief. She didn't allow a run and gave up just two hits while striking out four. Amanda Morin went 4 and two-thirds innings and allowed five runs on six hits.
FAU has now won seven of its past eight games and moved over the .500 mark for the first time since February 19. The wins against Samford keep FAU a perfect 12-0 all-time against the Bulldogs.
Florida Atlantic next hosts Florida International in a non-conference doubleheader Sunday at 1:00pm.