May 20, 2004
LINCOLN, NE - Florida Atlantic University was defeated by Creighton University, 6-2, Thursday morning in the first game of the NCAA Regional in Lincoln, NE. FAU will next face Lehigh in an elimination game Thursday night at 9:00pm EDT. Creighton scored two runs in the first inning and five more in the fifth on its way to the victory. FAU entered the regional as the no. 3 seed while Creighton was no. 6.
The lone runs for FAU (54-17) came on a two-run homer by Jessica Braggins in the sixth that pulled FAU to within 6-2. Candice Freel (27-9) suffered the loss for the Owls. It was only her third loss since the beginning of March.
Stacey Rybar helped set the tone for the Bluejays with a lead-off homer in the first inning. Creighton (42-15-1) added another run later in the inning for a 2-0 lead.
Meanwhile, Tammy Nielsen (26-11) retired the first eight Owls she faced before Amy Bellisari singled with two outs in the third. In the fourth, it looked as if FAU would finally get on the board when it put runners at first and second with one out. Jenn Piazza then stepped up and hit a drive to deep left field that looked like would clear the fence and give the Owls a lead. Instead, the wind held the ball up long enough for the catch to be made just in front of the fence.
"I thought that was one of the key plays of the game," said FAU head coach Joan Joyce. "If JP hits that two innings later when the wind wasn't as strong, it goes over the fence. We would have had a 3-2 lead instead of trailing 2-0 going to the fifth."
In the fifth, Rybar hit her second homer of the game, a two-run shot, to give the Bluejays a 4-0 lead. They would add two unearned runs to account for their final scoring.
"The bottom line is that we made a couple of mistakes that really hurt us," added Joyce.
Creighton outhit FAU 8-3.
Following the game, no. 2 Nebraska defeated no. 7 Lehigh, 6-0. Should FAU defeat Lehigh, it will have to win once on Friday and twice on Saturday and Sunday to claim its first trip to the College World Series.
All of FAU's game can be heard live on www.fausports.com.