May 13, 2004
BOCA RATON, FL - Host Florida Atlantic University edged Gardner-Webb University, 1-0, in the first round of the Atlantic Sun Conference Championship Thursday at FAU Field in Boca Raton. Jenna Lopez scored the lone run on a fielding error in the bottom of the fifth. Amanda Morin picked up the win, and Candice Freel came on to get the save. The win improved the no. 1 Owls to 51-15 while the no. 6 Bulldogs dropped to 30-31-1.
In the decisive fifth inning, Amy Bellisari led off with a single to center. Marlene Lopez ran for Bellisari and was forced out on a groundout by Ginny Matthews. Matthews was then erased on a groundout by Jenna Lopez for the second out. Lopez stole second, and Jessica Sachs followed with a single to the pitcher. The throw to first was wide, allowing Lopez to score and make it 1-0.
GWU's main threat came in the top of the fifth. Abbie Looper led off with a double and advanced to third on a single by Rachael Riopel. Morin then went to work. She struck out Jordyn Hill for the first out. Shelley Lavender grounded to short putting runners at second and third with two outs. Lani Shaffer had an infield pop-up to end the threat.
In the top of the sixth, the Bulldogs tried to rally. With two outs, the Bulldogs then put runners at first and second. Freel came on to strike out Christie Barlow. She retired GWU in order in the seventh to preserve the victory with her third save.
Morin (19-7) scattered four hits in five and two-thirds innings with four strikeouts and one walk. Freel was perfect, striking out three of the four batters she faced.
FAU is attempting to win its eighth straight A-Sun Championship. The Owls are the top-seed and have won 34 of their 40 games all-time in the championship.
Florida Atlantic advances to Thursday's 8:00pm game to face Stetson. The Hatters face elimination after losing to Troy State, 1-0, earlier in the day. The other game complete through round one was UCF defeating Mercer, 5-2. Mercer faces Gardner-Webb at 4:00pm in an elimination game. UCF takes on Troy State at 6:00pm. The tournament runs through Saturday.
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