May 14, 2004
BOCA RATON, FL - Florida Atlantic University dropped only its seventh game ever at the Atlantic Sun Conference Championship in a 3-2 loss to Stetson University in 15 innings Thursday night at FAU Field in Boca Raton. The game lasted three hours and 31 minutes and ended at 1:11am Friday morning as Stetson broke a 2-2 tie in the bottom of the 15th. The game featured a two run rally by Stetson in the bottom of the sixth only to be followed by a two-out game-tying rally in the top of the seventh by FAU (51-16).
The loss for FAU means the Owls will need to win three straight games to capture their eighth straight A-Sun Tournament championship. FAU faces Troy State Friday at 3:00pm in an elimination game. The winner will take on UCF at 7:00pm for the right to advance to Saturday's championship.
With one out in the bottom of the 15th, Stetson's Sherilynn Wilder singled. Angie Eguilior singled down the right field line to put runners at first and third. Shawna Wiggs followed with a bloop single to right to drive in Wilder with the winning run.
The game was scoreless into the sixth inning before the Owls broke through. With one out, Pam Mazzarella singled, and Jessica Braggins was hit by a pitch. Christina Thompson pinch ran for Mazzarella and scored on an RBI-single by Jenn Piazza to make it 1-0 FAU.
In the bottom of the sixth, Stetson (44-16) scored two runs to take a 2-1 lead. With runners at second and third and two outs, Brooke Hoorelbeke hit a chop-single to short, but a throwing error allowed both runners to score instead of one.
In the top of the seventh, it looked like Stetson starter Brittani Houghton would get through the inning unscathed. Ginny Matthews and Amy Bellisari were both retired before Jessica Sachs came to the plate with two outs and worked the count to 2-2. Sachs then drove the next pitch to right field for a single. Callie Piper followed with what looked to be a game-ending comebacker to Houghton. Instead, Houghton threw the ball down the right field line for a three-base error, allowing Sachs to score the tying run.
In the eighth, Heather Colding (7-2) came on to pitch for Stetson and did not allow a run in the eight innings she worked, giving up just three hits.
Candice Freel (24-8) suffered the complete-game loss for the Owls. She allowed three runs, two earned, on 10 hits with 12 strikeouts and one walk.
Stetson outhit FAU, 10-9. Piazza finished the game 2-for-4. The game matches the longest A-Sun Championship game ever played. Both FAU and Stetson played a 15-inning contest May 4, 2001, also at FAU Field. The Owls won that game, 1-0.
In other action on Thursday, FAU defeated Gardner-Webb, 1-0. UCF won both of its games by identical 5-2 margins against Mercer and Troy State. Mercer defeated Gardner-Webb, 5-1, in an elimination game. Also, Troy State defeated Stetson, 1-0. UCF is the only undefeated team heading into day two of the double-elimination tournament. FAU, Stetson, Troy State, and Mercer all have one loss while GWU has been eliminated.
After the FAU-TSU game, Mercer faces Stetson in another elimination game at 5:00pm.