Softball sweeps UNF to lock up A-Sun regular season title
After nine long seasons, the JU softball team has a conference title to put on the shelf after locking up the A-Sun regular season championship with a sweep against crown-town rival UNF, 8-0 (5) & 6-1, on Wednesday night at the JU Softball Complex.

The Dolphins (38-14, 16-2 A-Sun), who also secure the No. 1 seed at the A-Sun Tournament, scored four runs on four walks in the first game before plating three runs in the first inning of game two to set up the sweep.

“I’m really happy for our kids,” said JU head coach Amanda Lehotak. “They came out strong and took care of business. I’m proud of what our team has accomplished this year because this was a long time coming. We will celebrate tonight before getting back to work again on Friday.”

Junior Sarah Sigrest (21-5) scattered two hits and fanned four Ospreys (24-31, 8-12) in five innings to get her ninth shutout of the season in game one. Sophomore Olivia Kline (15-6) got the game two win after allowing one run on seven hits in five innings, while Sigrest added two scoreless relief innings.

UNF starter Cortney Radke (22-20) took both losses, allowing eight runs on 10 hits in 4.1 innings in game one and six runs on eight hits in six innings of game two.

Offensively, freshman Meagan Balding and junior Kayla Ouellet each finished with four hits in the double header for JU. Ouellet, Kline and senior Katie Kelly all drive in two runs each on the night.

In game one, Sigrest allowed a lead-off single to Lauren Pollack in the second inning. The Dolphins cut down the lead runner at second in the next at-bat on bunt attempt, while Sigrest retired the next two batters on fly outs to end the threat.

The Dolphins benefited from a wild throwing Radke with two outs in the bottom of the second inning as they scored two runs on consecutive bases-load walks.

Balding, junior Brittany Eppley and Ouellet had three straight singles in the third inning to push the lead to 5-0.

Sigrest retired the final 10 of 11 UNF batters, while Kelly homered to lead off the fifth inning. The Dolphins picked up two more runs after the home run on walks to secure the early win.

In game two, the Dolphins struck hurry with three runs in the first inning to take an early lead.

Ouellet reached on infield single in the first inning and advanced to second as Chie Someya overthrew the first baseman. Radke unleashed two wild pitches in the next two hitters, which allowed Ouellet to come around to score for the 1-0 lead. Simon followed the run with a walk and moved to third on a single to right field by Kline in the next at-bat. Radke walked freshman Karson Tuck to load the bases. Warner plated Simon on a sharp ground out to first baseman and Kelly drove in Kline with a single to center to round out the scoring.

The Ospreys threatened in the fourth inning as Danica Mandarano and Mariah Reynolds recorded consecutive one-out singles. Kline hit Marissa Thomas to load the bases, but settled down and returned the next two batters with fly outs to quash the threat.

In the fourth inning, the Dolphins took a 4-0 lead on an RBI single to left field from Ouellet to score senior Annike Don. Ouellet advanced to second in the next at-bat at Schmidt reached on fielder’s choice, while Simon walked to load the bases. Kline scored Ouellet on a ground out and Schmidt later scored on wild pitch to push the JU lead to 6-0.

UNF scored a run after recording consecutive doubles to start the sixth inning. Sigrest relieved Kline and retired the next three batters to end the inning.

Sigrest pitched a scoreless seventh inning to lock down the program’s first A-Sun regular season title.

The wins also gives JU as a whole a 9-8 lead over UNF in the annual SunTrust River City Rumble standings.

The Dolphins round out the regular season on Friday against Stetson in a doubleheader at the JU Softball Complex. First pitch is at 5 p.m.