Softball wins twice to start Jacksonville Tournament
Sophomore Ashley Simon
Sophomore Ashley Simon
The long ball helped the Jacksonville University softball team defeat Stony Brook, 6-1, and Ohio State, 4-2, on the first day of the Jacksonville Tournament Friday at the JU Softball Complex.

Senior Sarah Simon, junior Karson Tuck and sophomore Ashley Simon each had blasts to set up the Dolphins’ (5-2) wins. Freshman Victoria Brown was solid in the circle in the second game to extend her streak without earned run to 17 innings.

“This was an excellent way to start the tourney,” JU head coach Ali Higgs said. “Our team came to play today and it showed. We need to build off the momentum to help us with another tough day tomorrow.”

Freshman Cecile Gomez (2-0) fanned six batters and allowed an unearned run on four hits in seven innings to get the win in the first game. Brown (2-0) surrendered two unearned runs on six hits and two strikeouts in the night cap for her win.

Brown did damage at the plate as well after going 4-for-8 between the games with a double and two runs scored. Freshman Emily Sanchez also had four hits on the day, while also tying Sarah Simon with three RBI.

Against Stony Brook, the Dolphins got base loaded on the Seawovles (0-2) with one out in the second inning. Stony Brook starter and eventual losing pitcher Jane Sallen got the next two hitters with fly outs to quash the threat.

Gomez retired her first six batters in order before Gina Bianculli reached on an error to start the third inning. After moving to second on a sacrifice bunt and third on a ground out, Bianculli scored on a single up the middle by Shayla Giosia for the 1-0 lead.

In the JU fourth inning, Sallen got two quick outs, but allowed a walk to Tuck. Ashley Simon followed with a home run to left center field to give the Dolphins a 2-1 lead.

The Dolphins extended the advantage to 6-1 with a four-run fifth inning.

Freshman Sable Lee and Brown each started the frame with singles, while junior Codi Kelly reached on an error to load the bases. Stony Brook cut down the lead runner at home on a fielder’s choice in the next at-bat, but Sanchez and Sarah Simon each followed with two-run singles to pat JU’s lead.

Gomez retired nine of the final 11 Stony Brook hitters to secure the win for the Dolphins.

Sallen (0-1) allowed six runs, five earned, on eight hits in 4.1 innings for the loss. Christine Lucido allowed a hit in 1.2 relief innings for the Seawolves.

Against Ohio State, Brown led off the contest with a double to left field. Kelly followed with a bunt single and got in a run down to allow Brown enough room to score for the 1-0 JU lead.

The Buckeyes (5-2) got runners in scoring position during the first three innings, but Brown left them stranded to end the threats.

Simon and Tuck opened the fourth inning with consecutive solo home runs to left field to give the Dolphins a 3-0 advantage.

In the Ohio State fifth inning, the Buckeyes got two leadoff singles and a walk to load the bases. Brown took a line drive hit off her body in the next at-bat, but recovered in enough time to throw out the runner at the plate. Brown followed by getting Lessa Gresham to hit into a 5-2-3 groundball double play to halt the Buckeyes scoring chances.

The Dolphins got an insurance run in the top of the seventh inning on a two-out single from Sanchez to score Kelly.

Ohio State picked up two runs on a two-out error in the bottom of the seventh inning before Brown induced a groundout to end the game.

Olivia O’Reilly (2-1) took the loss for the Buckeyes, allowing three runs on five hits and four strikeouts in four innings.

JU continues the tournament tomorrow against Stony Brook (4:15 p.m.) and Louisville (6:30 p.m.). Fans can follow the action through live stats at