SUNDAY, MARCH 11, 2007
Softball splits a pair of games at the USF/adidas Invitational on Saturday

March 10, 2007

Box Score

CLEARWATER, Fla. - The JU softball team erased an 11-game jinx with a 3-2 victory over USF to start the day, but later fell to UMass, 5-3, in the Silver Flight bracket opening game on Saturday at the USF/adidas Invitational in Clearwater, Fla.

The Dolphins (6-21) used two-run fourth inning to earn their first win over the Bulls (17-11) in school history. In the night cap, the Minutewomen (8-7-1) rallied from two runs down in the bottom of the sixth inning to eliminate the Dolphins from the second-place tournament bracket.

"We are playing the best ball of the season right now," said JU head coach Amanda Lehotak. "We executing and stepping up well. Our team is starting to peak as we head into our conference schedule."

Offensively, the Dolphins were lead by junior Jillian Mirante, who finished with three hits and a run scored in two games. She also stole her 19th career base against the Minutewomen to become JU's new all-time leader. Sara Gordon recorded two hits and an RBI on the day, while Renee LaCroix had an RBI single against USF.

Freshman Ashley Iveson (3-6) earned the win for JU against the Bulls after tossing her third complete-game of the Invitational and allowing two runs on seven hits. Despite the win against USF, she took the loss in the nightcap after surrendering three unearned runs on three hits in one inning of relief.

For the tournament, Iveson picked up two wins in four appearances and only allowed seven runs (two earned) on 12 hits with nine strikeouts in 22.2 innings of work.

Trailing 2-0 in the first game, LaCroix beat out a two-out infield single to shortstop, which allowed Gordon to score from second for JU.

Mirante and Ashley Mora reached on back-to-back one-out singles in the third inning. After a groundout by Alexis Novak, Mirante scored on a pass ball during the first pitch of Gordon's at-bat to even the game for the Dolphins. Gordon plated Mora with a single in the second base gap to give JU a 3-2 advantage.

The Bulls threatened in the seventh inning by reaching on two JU two-out errors, but Iveson induced a fly out to quash the rally.

USF starter Bree Spence (3-4) was tagged with the loss after allowing three runs (one earned) in three innings. Freshman reliever Kristen Gordon, younger sister of JU's Sara Gordon, surrendered one hit and fanned seven batters in three scoreless innings of relief.

The Dolphins grabbed the initial lead in second inning of game two, when Valerie Alter scored on a two-out base loaded wild pitch from Brandice Balschmiter.

The Minutewomen tied the game in the bottom of the inning on a two-out run-scoring single from Lauren Proctor.

Alter got base for JU on a fielder's choice in fifth inning. She moved to third on Pat Melo's single up the middle. After Melo stole second, Alter scored on a passed ball during Mirante's at-bat to give the Dolphins a 2-1 advantage. Mirante reached on a fielder error by the shortstop to score Melo and extend JU's lead.

Proctor recorded another two-out hit or UMass with a triple to plate Teman to make it a 3-2 ballgame in the bottom of the fifth inning.

Williams led off the sixth inning for the Minutewomen with an infield single. After two consecutive outs, Amanda Morin reached first on a JU error. Candice Molinari cleared both runners with a single up the middle to give her team a 4-3 lead. Molinari scored in the next at-bat on a double by Stacy Cullington off Iveson.

The Dolphins opened the seventh inning with two consecutive outs. Melo followed with a groundout, but due to a lineup mistake by UMass, she was awarded first base. Mirante added a single to the right side, but Balschmiter retired Mora on a groundout to end the JU rally.

Balschmiter (6-5) earned the win in the circle for UMass after allowing three runs (one earned), while striking out five in seven innings.

JU starter Katie Buell hurled five innings and allowed two runs on eight hits with four strikeouts to earn a no-decision.

The Dolphins return to the JU Softball Complex on Wednesday as they host Ball State in a non-conference doubleheader. First pitch is slated for 4 p.m.