Softball starts home schedule against #5 Florida
Senior Sarah Simon
Senior Sarah Simon
The Jacksonville University softball team begins a busy week at the JU Softball Complex against No. 5 Florida Wednesday at 6 p.m.

The Dolphins’ (3-1) contest Wednesday is one of six games at home this week. Along with Florida, JU is set to host Louisville, Ohio State, Stony Brook and Bethune-Cookman starting Friday for the first of two home tournaments.

“After a good start in Tallahassee this past weekend, we will brush up on some things today and prepare for the Gators tomorrow,” JU head coach Ali Higgs said. “We have a tough week ahead of us with some very good competition on the schedule.”

JU starts the home slate after posting three wins in the first four games at the Panhandle Invitational in Tallahassee. The Dolphins beat the Lady Wildcats in the 2013 opener and Florida A&M twice before falling to No. 24 Florida State.

Senior Sarah Simon batted .400 (4-10) with two runs, two home runs and four RBI to pace the Dolphins. She had both of her home runs in the 4-1 win against Florida A&M on Feb. 10.

In the circle, freshman Victoria Brown fanned seven batters in seven shutout innings against Bethune-Cookman. Senior Dale Tillman and freshman Cecile Gomez also picked up wins.

The Gators (5-0) started the season with a perfect mark at the Kajikawa Classic in Temple, Az. Kelsey Stewart went 10-for-18 (five extra-base hits) to lead the Gators’ offense, while Hannah Rogers struck out 16 batters in 16 innings for two wins at the classic.

“Florida had a great opening weekend with three of its five wins coming from Top 15 ranked West coast teams,” Higgs said. “We also have Ohio State, Stony Brook, Bethune Cookman and Louisville at our home tournament this weekend. All four of these teams will test our defense and pitching. I am looking for our offense to continue to have quality at bats and doing a better job of executing the little things to put some more runs up on the board.”

On Friday, the Dolphins kick off their first home tournament with Stony Brook at 4:15 p.m. and Ohio State at 6:30 p.m. JU plays Stony Brook again Saturday at 4:15 p.m. before playing Louisville in the nightcap afterwards. They will play Bethune-Cookman Sunday at 1:30 p.m. to close out the tournament.

The Buckeyes and Cardinals each posted a 4-1 mark, respectively, in their first tournament last weekend. The Wildcats went winless in four games at the Panhandle Invitational, while the Seawolves will kick off 2013 in Jacksonville.

In the series records, Florida has won all 10 contests against the Dolphins, including a 7-0 decision in the last trip to Jacksonville in 2011. JU lost a 2-0 decision to Louisville in Miami during the 2009 season. The Dolphins split a pair of games with the Seawolves in 2008, but own an 11-5 record against the Wildcats counting the win on Feb. 9. It will be JU’s first matchup against Ohio State.

Fans can follow the action through the live links at JUDolphins.com.