April 16, 2004
BOCA RATON, FL - Florida Atlantic University moved into a tie for first-place in the Atlantic Sun Conference with a doubleheader sweep of Mercer University Friday night at FAU Field in Boca Raton. The Owls outlasted the Bears, 1-0, in the first game in nine innings as Candice Freel won her 14th straight game and struck out a career-high 13. FAU then took game two, 2-0. FAU, which is receiving votes in both national polls, improved to 42-13 overall and 9-1 in the A-Sun while Mercer dropped to 28-25 and 9-5, respectively.
In game one, both Freel and Mercer's Katie Rosentreter battled out of jams late in the game. Both went into the third inning before allowing a base runner. The game's first threat came in the top of the sixth when the Bears put runners on first and third with one out. Freel then forced a come-backer and struck out Meghan Clark to end the inning.
In the bottom of the sixth, Jessica Sachs led off with a double and advanced to third on a sacrifice. However, a pop-up and a strikeout ended the Owls' threat. FAU had runners at first and second with one out in the seventh before a double play and a strikeout sent the game into extra innings.
Freel allowed just one base runner in the extra frames to set up the fateful bottom of the ninth. Pam Mazzarella led off and reached on a dropped infield pop-up. She advanced to second a wild pitch and to third on a single by Jessica Braggins. With one out, Jenn Piazza walked to load the bases. A fielder's choice forced Mazzarella at home for the second out. Ginny Matthews then grounded to short and reached on a fielder's choice when Piazza reached third safely, allowing Jenna Lopez to score the winning run.
Freel, who entered the day 19th in the nation in ERA, improved to 20-6 on the year. The shutout was her ninth of the season. She allowed four hits with 13 strikeouts and no walks. Freel lowered her conference-leading ERA to 0.80 and has allowed just one run in the past 40 innings. In her last four starts, she has struck out 36 and walked just one.
In game two, FAU broke out on top in the third. Sachs led off with a walk and advanced to second on a sacrifice. Mazzarella then singled to right to drive home Sachs and make it 1-0. Matthews made it 2-0 in the fourth on a two-out solo home run to left field, her third of the season.
Amanda Morin, the reigning A-Sun Pitcher-of-the-Week, turned in another dominant performance. She took a no-hitter into the sixth before a one-out infield single by Jennifer Dolan. Morin (16-6) allowed two hits and struck out eight with two walks.
With the wins, FAU extends its winning streak to four, all shutouts, with eight wins in its last nine outings. The Owls are now tied with Stetson atop the A-Sun with 10 games remaining in the regular season.
Florida Atlantic next faces Georgia State Sunday in a 1:00pm doubleheader.