Dolphins split again

Jacksonville came into Saturday’s games with Kennesaw State having split every conference double header so far this season and continued that trend.  JU won game one 6-5, then returned for game two and lost 2-1.

Senior Brittany Eppley (6-7) started both games picking up the win in game one and the loss in game two.  Sarah Sigrest came on late in the first game to pick up her second save of the season.

The first game of the afternoon remained scoreless all the way until the bottom half of the fourth inning.  A single and an illegal pitch by Eppley gave Kennesaw a runner in scoring position.  After a groundout moved the runner over to third base, the Owl’s Vollmer single to bring in the runner and give Kennesaw the 1-0 lead.

The Owls held that lead very briefly as JU was able to counter with four runs in the top of the fifth inning.  Karson Tuck started the inning off by reaching on a fielding error by the pitcher.  Jacey Warner then singled to second base to give the Dolphins runners on first and second.  Melissa Morales followed with a sacrifice bunt to move the runners over to second and third.  The Dolphins then got the bases loaded as Codi Kelly was able to draw a walk.  Kayla Ouellet stepped up the plate and hit a ball down the left field line just under the third baseman’s glove for an RBI single tying the game at 1-1.  JU then took the lead when Sarah Simon was hit by a pitch.  Amanda Schmidt tacked on two more runs for the Dolphins when she singled to left field to bring home Kelly and Ouellet.  When the dust had settled in the top of the fifth, JU was leading 4-1.

Kennesaw made the game close in the sixth when they hit a two run home run off of Eppley.  After allowing a single following the home run, Sigrest came on in relief and got the Dolphins out of the inning still clinging to a 4-3 lead.

JU would add two insurance runs in the top of the seventh that proved to be very valuable.  Ouellet led off with a single and stole second like she has done so many times before.  Sarah Simon then reached on a fielding error while Ouellet stayed put at second.  Both runners advanced a base on a passed ball.  The Kennesaw catcher tried to throw Ouellet out on the play but instead threw the ball away to left field allowing her to score.  Simon eventually scored after advancing to third on a wild pitch and then coming home on an RBI single by Ashley Simon.  JU lead 6-3 heading into the bottom half of the seventh.

The Owls made things interesting in the seventh by leading off with a single.  After a fly out, Kennesaw cut the JU lead to just one as Jessica Cross was able to hit a two run home run off of Sigrest.  The Dolphin ace then settled down to get the last two outs and secure the JU win.

The Dolphins struggled at the plate in the second game not having a batter reach base in the final four innings. 

JU had its most success hitting in the top of the first as it was able to manufacture a run.  With one out in the inning, Ouellet doubled down the left field line.  Schmidt then came to the plate after a strikeout and singled through the left side to bring Ouellet in from second.  There was a play at the plate but Ouellet was able to beat it out using her supreme speed. 

Eppley was able to keep the Kennesaw batters in check throughout the second game except for in the third inning.  The Owls loaded the bases with two outs.  They then got a timely single that drove in one run.  That was followed by a pitch that was hit to Tuck at second that she could not handle and allowed the go-ahead run to come across and give Kennesaw the 2-1 lead that they would not relinquish. 

The Dolphins (22-18, 4-4) return to action Wednesday, April 11 to host the Florida A&M Rattlers at the JU Softball Complex.