JACKSONVILLE, Fla.—The JU softball team dropped its season finale against UNF 4-2 Sunday afternoon at the JU Softball Complex.
The Dolphins (30-22, 11-15 A-Sun) were doomed by the three run fifth inning for UNF (39-13, 17-6 A-Sun).
Freshman Cecile Gomez made the start for the Dolphins.
After two straight strikeouts to start off the game, Gomez was tagged with a solo home run over the right field fence to give UNF the early 1-0 lead.
JU would respond in the bottom of the second to tie the game.
Ashley Simon led off the inning with a double to right center to bring up Morgan Kibler. She did her job of advancing Simon to third with a groundout to second. The Dolphins then executed a squeeze bunt as Jacey Warner was able to lay down the bunt and Simon was able to avoid the tag near the plate.
With the Ospreys starting off the top of the third with a double, Dolphin head coach Ali Higgs decided to make a pitching change and sent senior Dale Tillman to the circle. She promptly got the next three batters out and was rolling until the fifth inning.
A walk and a sacrifice bunt gave UNF a runner on second with one out. A single through the left side moved the runner over to third. The Ospreys then successfully ran a squeeze bunt of their own to score the go-ahead run. The batter and runner on first ended up at second and third base on the play due to an errant throw to the plate by the Dolphins. Tillman was able to get the next batter to line out to Simon at third and she looked to have tagged the diving runner for the inning-ending double play but the third base umpire said the runner was safe. The next batter doubled to drive in two runs and put the Ospreys up 4-1.
The Dolphins were not done and made things interesting in the bottom of the sixth.
Sarah Simon started the inning off with a single to right field. The hit was the 200th of her illustrious Dolphin career. Sable Lee replaced Simon at first as a pinch runner and advanced to second after Karson Tuck was able to draw a walk. Lee was then thrown out at third for the first out of the inning as Ashley Simon hit into the fielder’s choice. After a strikeout, Emily Sanchez produced a pinch hit single up the middle that allowed Tuck to score from second after the UNF centerfielder misplayed the ball. Jackie DiPiazza was then able to load the bases after her grounder to the pitcher was unable to be corralled in time to get her out at first. Meagan Balding then nearly tied the game as she hit a line drive to the outfield but it was caught by the centerfielder to end the inning and the Dolphin threat.
As neither team would score in the seventh, the game would end 4-2.
The loss ends the Dolphins’ season as they will finish outside of the top six in the conference standings and will not make the Atlantic Sun Tournament. Although the season ended in disappointment, the Dolphins were still able to capture their fourth consecutive 30 win season and send the 2013 senior class out as the winningest class in program history.