THURSDAY, MAY 07, 2009
Softball falls to Mercer to open A-Sun Tournament, 2-0
The Bears got a home run from Page Raynor and Jenni Holtz tossed a complete-game shutout to lift the No. 3 seed Mercer past the No. 4 seed JU softball team, 2-0, on Thursday morning to open the Atlantic Sun Tournament in DeLand, Fla.

Rayor got a two-out solo homer in the first inning to Mercer (38-17) up early, while the Bears added another run off a Dolphins’ (24-30) error in the third inning.

Holtz (22-8) limited JU to four singles in the contest and struck out seven batters to help secure the win.

Despite taking the loss for JU, junior Ashley Iveson (10-11) equaled most of Holtz’s numbers by allowing just five hits and striking out six batters, while giving up two runs (one earned) in six innings.

With the loss, the Dolphins will play again tonight at 8 p.m. against either No. 1 seed Campbell or No. 6 seed Stetson to try to stay alive in this double-elimination tournament. The Camels and Hatters will square off this afternoon at 1 p.m.

“We have to find a way to score runs,” said JU head coach Amanda Lehotak. “Ashley had a good effort in the circle, but we just couldn’t get any offense going to support her. Now with the loss, we will have to dig down deep and fight our way through the rest of this tournament. I am confident our team can do just that.”

Holtz opened the contest striking out five of the first 10 JU batters she faced, while scattering hits to freshman Amanda Schmidt and sophomore Katie Kelly.

Kelly’s hit came with two outs in the third, but she was gunned down stealing during the next at-bat by Brandy Keeter to end the inning.

In Mercer’s half of the third, Holly Oglesbee drew a two-out walk from Iveson. Allison Jones followed with single to center field. Junior Shannon Monahan overthrew junior Kelly McKeon from the outfield at third on the play, which allowed Oglesbee to score and give the Bears a 2-0 advantage.

In fourth inning, junior Ashley Mora led off with a single up the middle off for the Dolphins. The Bears helped their starter out in the next at-bat when senior Alexis Novak popped her bunt up to third baseman Cassy Neilson, who then fired to first to get Mora for the double play. Holtz followed with a fly out to quash the threat.

Sara Stukes led off the fifth inning for Mercer with a single and moved to second in the next at-bat by a wild pitch. After a fly out, Jenna Ellis singled to left field and advanced to second, while the Dolphins held Stukes to third base. Stacey Condra tried to get another run on a suicide squeeze, but a racing junior Amber Moseley caught the bunt and tagged Stukes three steps before home. Iveson induced a fly out in the next at-bat to end the threat.

Holtz killed JU’s momentum from getting out of the fifth inning by retiring the next six batters in order to get the win for Mercer.

Fans can continue to follow the tournament throughout the day on atlanticsun.org with live stats or watching the game on A-Sun.TV.