FRIDAY, MARCH 18, 2011
Softball drops two on first day of USF The Game Tournament
The JU softball team didn’t have the same luck they had on its side yesterday after dropping contests to No. 21 Texas Tech, 5-1, and Colorado State, 2-1, on Friday in the first day of the USF The Game Tournament in Clearwater, Fla.

The Red Raiders (31-1) used a two-out grand slam in the top of the seventh inning to break a 1-1 tie against the Dolphins (16-11) for the win. The Rams (6-23) got two early runs and used a strong performance to secure the victory in the second game.

“We weren’t as sharp as we could have been today,” said JU head coach Amanda Lehotak. “There were missed opportunities in both games that could have helped us get two wins. We will learn from the mistakes tonight and look for a better day on Saturday.”

Offensively, junior Amanda Schmidt homered against the Red Raiders, while freshman Karson Tuck finished with two hits. Junior Brittany Eppley had an RBI double in the second game.

Junior Sarah Sigrest (8-4) took the loss in the first game after allowing five runs, four earned, on six hits, four walks and four strikeouts in seven innings. Sophomore Olivia Kline (8-5) was tagged with the loss against the Rams, allowing two runs on five hits in 4.2 innings. Eppley struck out two in 1.1 scoreless relief frames.

Against Texas Tech, freshman Meagan Balding and Tuck led off the second inning for JU with singles, while Kline advanced the runners to second and third in the next at-bat on a ground out. Senior Katie Kelly tried to bunt pinch runner senior Annike Don in from third with a suicide squeeze, but Red Raider first baseman Sandy Jenkins was able to throw Don out at home. Texas Tech starter and eventual winning pitcher Kelsey Dennis followed by getting Eppley to fly out to right field to end the inning.

In the third inning, Mikey Kenney drew a one-out walk for the Red Raiders. Stephanie Drewry followed with a sharp single to third that got thrown around the Dolphins infield which allowed Kenney to score for the 1-0 Texas Tech lead.

The Red Raiders got two on with two outs in the fifth inning, but senior Katarina Engler made a diving catch in left field to keep the JU deficit at 1-0.

Schmidt redeemed herself from a third inning error in the sixth for JU by tying the game at one on a two-out home run to left field.

In the top of the seventh inning, Sigrest got the first two hitters out before allowing a single to Kenney. Drewry followed with a single, while Emily Bledsoe was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Sigrest went to a 2-2 count on Cydney Allen, but she hit a long fly ball over the left field fence to clear the bases and give Texas Tech a 5-1 advantage.

Tuck led off the JU seventh inning with a single to center field, but Dennis got a force out at second and retired the next two batters to secure the Red Raiders victory.

Dennis (9-0) scattered four hits and struck out six in seven innings to stay perfect on the season.

Against Colorado State, the Rams took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on two-out bases loaded hit by pitch.

With two outs in the Rams fourth inning, Brianna Donahue drew a walk off of Kline. Morgan Doughty advanced Donahue to third with a single to right field in the next at-bat. Ivory Allen laced a sharp single off Kline’s glove which allowed Donahue to score and gave Colorado State a 2-0 advantage.

The Dolphins scratched across a run in the fifth inning Eppley doubled home sophomore Morgan Kibler to cut the deficit to 2-1. Kline followed with a walk, but Rams reliever Kelsey Jo O’Brien got junior Kayla Ouellet to fly out to left field to end the inning.

O’Brien pitched a scoreless sixth and seventh inning to secure the Rams win.

Rams’ starter Kelli Eubanks (1-0) earned the win after pitching four scoreless frames on no hits and four strikeouts. O’Brien allowed one run on two hits in three relief frames.

The Dolphins look to bounce back in the tournament tomorrow against Dartmouth at 12:30 p.m. They will round out the day against Winthrop at 5:30 p.m.