Softball squanders leads in doubleheader losses to Mercer

April 21, 2007

Box Score

MACON, Ga. - The state of Georgia was not too peachy for the JU softball team as they were swept in a Atlantic Sun Conference doubleheader by Mercer, 3-2 & 7-6 (9), on Saturday night at Sikes Field in Macon, Ga.

The Bears (11-40, 4-8 A-Sun) used a two-run single and fought off a late rally to win the first game before coming from behind twice in game two to earn the sweep in extra innings. The Dolphins (15-41, 4-11 A-Sun) lead in both games at one point before succumbing to the rallies.

"We can't close out a game," said JU head coach Amanda Lehotak. "Our team had the games won today, but we gave Mercer a chance to come back. We have to find a way to nail down a win."

Freshman Ashley Mora went 3-for-7 with three RBI and a home run to lead the Dolphins at the plate in the doubleheader. Junior Jillian Mirante also finished with three hits, while Sara Gordon and Kelly McKeon each went 2-for-4 in the second game.

In the circle, junior Shannon Jensen (4-17) took the loss for the Dolphins in both games. She allowed three runs on six hits in six innings during the first game and surrendered the two game-winning runs in 1.1 innings of relief in game two.

Mercer starter Stephanie Rossman (5-15) picked up both wins in doubleheader. She tossed a complete game in game one and allowed two runs on eight hits with five strikeouts. In the night cap, Rossman gave up one run on four hits in five relief innings to get the victory.

Senior Katie Buell and Mercer's Nikki Bylak each earned a no-decision for their teams in game two. Buell allowed four runs on eight hits in five innings, while Bylak gave up five runs (two earned) on seven hits in four innings.

With the score tied at five in the ninth inning of game two, junior Pat Melo was hit-by-pitch to open the Dolphins' at-bat. After a sacrifice bunt by Mirante, Melo scored on a single up the middle from Mora to give the Dolphins a 6-5 lead. JU was not able to make any more damage as Rossman retired the next two batters to the end Dolphins' threat.

Jamie Madruga drew a lead off walk from Jensen to start Mercer's ninth inning. Kristin Talamenates reached on a fielder's choice bunt as Amber Moseley missed throwing out Madruga at second base. Ashley Anderson helped load the bases in the next at-bat as Gordon couldn't get Madruga on the ground ball hit to third base.

C.J. Martin followed with a drag bunt down the third base line to plate Madruga and even the game for the Bears. Jensen was able to get an out at the plate in the next at-bat from a fielder's choice hit by Crystal Condra back to the pitcher.

After the out, Laura Persons ended the game with a single past Melo at second to score Anderson for the 7-6 win.

The Dolphins initially lead 5-1 over the Bears in the contest before falling late.

In the second inning, McKeon opened with a double and scored in the next at-bat on a throwing error during a Moseley groundout to give JU a 1-0 advantage.

Mora helped extend the Dolphins lead to 2-0 in the third inning after legging out ground ball hit at first base to plate Valerie Alter.

The Bears cut the deficit by a run in the bottom of the third inning from a double by Kelley Bretscher, but Gordon hit a two-out RBI triple in the top of the fourth inning to plate McKeon giving JU a 3-1 lead.

In the fifth inning, Mirante doubled home Melo to give the Dolphins' a 4-1 advantage. Mirante later scored on a throwing error to cap off the inning.

Madruga cut the deficit within a run again for the Bears when she hit a two-out three-run opposite field home run off JU starter Katie Buell to make it a 5-4 ballgame in the bottom of the fifth inning.

JU reliever Ashley Ivseon would get the first two batters to start the seventh inning. After an international walk to Madruga, Talamenates drew another walk on a full count. Anderson followed with a double that dropped right inside the left field line just past the infield to score Madruga and send the game into extra innings.

In game one, Mora broke a scoreless tie in the fourth inning by leading off with her second home run of the season to give JU a 1-0 lead.

The Bears tied the game in the fifth inning from a RBI double to left field from Jena Ellis to plate Anderson.

In the sixth inning, Bretscher reached on a one-out infield single to center field. After an intentional walk to Madruga, Renee LaCroix threw out Bretscher at third on Talamenates' fielder's choice. The Bears loaded the bases in the next at-bat from Anderson's slow rolling ground ball to shortstop. Martin followed with a two-run single to give the Bears a 3-1 lead.

Alter reached on a bunt single to start JU's seventh inning. After a fly out by Melo, Alter moved to second on single to the left side by Mirante, while Mora followed with a walk to load the bases.

Alexis Novak drove a ball back up the middle to score Alter and make it a 3-2 ballgame, but Rossman sat down the next two JU batters to quash the rally.

The Dolphins are now off next week for finals, but return to action on Thursday, May 3 to face Stetson in an A-Sun doubleheader for the season finale at JU Softball Complex beginning at 4 p.m. The doubleheader will also mark "Senior Night" for the Dolphins as they honor Valerie Alter, Katie Buell and Renee LaCroix in their final set of games.