FRIDAY, MARCH 30, 2012
Dolphins split conference opener

The Jacksonville softball team split its Atlantic Sun conference opener against Belmont Friday at the JU Softball Complex.  Belmont took the first game 4-3, while the Dolphins were victorious in the second game of the doubleheader 4-2.

The Dolphins had 12 hits as a team in the loss which marks the first time all season that JU has had double digit hits and lost a game.  Four Dolphins had two hits each to lead the team.  Codi Kelly, Sarah Simon, Amanda Schmidt, and Jacey Warner combined for eight of the team’s 12 total hits.

Sarah Sigrest (12-7) made the start for JU going all seven innings giving up four runs off of nine hits while walking five. 

JU scored first, getting on the board in the bottom of the second inning.  Schmidt led off the inning with a double to left center.  After two fly outs, the Dolphins strung together two singles to bring Schmidt home and put JU up 1-0. 

The lead would not last long as the Bruins were able to counter with three runs in the top of the third.  A single and a walk put two runners on for Belmont.  The Bruins then hit back to back doubles to score three and put them up 3-1.

The Dolphins were able to get one run back in the bottom half of third.  Kelly led off with a double and then scored after Simon hit a ball deep into the outfield.

Belmont was able to add another run in the top of the sixth to give them the 4-2 lead.

The Dolphins missed an opportunity to plate some runs in the bottom of the sixth.  JU loaded the bases with no one out, but then popped up, grounded out, and lined out to allow the Bruins to escape the jam and preserve their lead.

JU once again had a great chance to possibly tie or win the game in the seventh.  Kelly and Simon led off the inning with back to back singles.  Schmidt then hit a ball to deep left center that scored Kelly.  Simon rounded third and tried to score but was thrown out at the plate.  Schmidt ended up at third after the play.  Gajownik then hit a ball to the short stop that Schmidt tried to score on but she was tagged out at home. The Dolphins had the potential tying and game winning runs tagged out at home on consecutive plays. 

The second game proved to be much better for the Dolphins.

Brittany Eppley (4-5) took the mound and had one of her better performances of the year.  She went all seven innings giving up just two hits and only one earned run while striking out a career high 10 batters.  Her only mistake of the night came in the top of the seventh inning with two outs when Belmont’s Heather Turner hit a solo home run.

JU jumped out to an early lead posting two runs in each of the first and second innings. 

In the first, Simon walked followed by a Schmidt single.  Gajownik then came through with a double to deep center that brought them home putting JU up 2-0.

The Dolphins then used a combination of a walk and three hits to add another two runs in the second to push their lead to 4-0.

Eppley shut down the Bruins bats all game long striking out six straight at one point.

JU is now 19-15 on the season and 1-1 overall.  They return to action Saturday when they host another conference foe in Lipscomb.  The doubleheader is scheduled to start at 1:00 pm.