Softball falls twice to FGCU in A-Sun opener
Florida Gulf Coast scored big early to knock off the JU softball team, 6-4 & 6-0, on Thursday night in an Atlantic Sun doubleheader at Fort Myers, Fla.

The Eagles (15-9, 4-0) remain perfect in conference play after scoring six runs in the first two innings to secure the game one win. They added four runs in the first two innings of game two to set up the victory.

The Dolphins (21-9, 0-2) had a game-high 14 hits in the first game, but JU stranded 12 runners to fall in game one. JU was limited to three bunt singles and a double in the game two loss.

“We were not as sharp as we could have been early,” said JU head coach Amanda Lehotak. “We battled back in the games, but we were not able to overcome the deficit. Our plan is to go back to the drawing board to see what we need to improve on because I told our team it’s how you finish and not how you start.”

FGCU Cat McDaniel (7-9) earned the game one win despite allowing 14 hits and four runs in 6.1 innings of work. Stephanie Sullivan recorded the final two outs to get her first save of the season.

Senior Ashley Iveson took the game one loss, allowing six runs on five hits in two innings. Freshman Olivia Kline sat down the final 10 batters in a row in four scoreless relief innings to keep JU in the contest.

Kelci Breaux (5-9) struck out nine and scattered four hits in seven shutout innings to get the game two win for the Eagles.

Sophomore Sarah Sigrest (6-3) was tagged with the game two loss for JU after allowing four runs on six hits and six strikeouts in 3.2 innings. Kline gave up two runs on four hits in 2.1 relief innings.

Offensively, junior Katie Kelly pounded out four hits and two RBI in game one, while freshman Sarah Simon went 3-for-3. Senior Kelly McKeon and sophomore Kayla Ouellet each had two hits in the night camp.

With one out in the first inning of game, Ouellet reached on an infield single. She stole second and advanced to third from an error by the catcher. Kelly scored Ouellet with a single to left field to give the Dolphins a 1-0 lead.

The lead would be short lived after the Eagles took a 3-1 advantage on a three-run home run by Hayley O’Mara in the bottom of the first inning.

The Dolphins took another one-run lead in the second inning after scoring three times, but a two out, two-run double by Jessica Gary and an RBI single by Courtney Platt in the bottom of the inning gave the Eagles a 6-4 advantage.

In the fourth inning, Ouellet was hit by a pitch and Kelly followed with a single to push her to second. McDaniel got the next two outs before sophomore Kayla Shavers reached on a single to third. Ouellet tried to take advantage by going home on the ball bouncing off the bag, but Gary threw her out to end the inning.

JU got a one-out walk from Simon in the seventh inning, while sophomore Melissa Morales followed with a single to right to push her to second. FGCU inserted Sullivan to pitch and sophomore Brie Carmack came to pinch hit for the Dolphins. Sullivan struck out Carmack looking and got junior Katarina Engler to line out to secure her first save of the season.

In game two, FGCU gained a 3-0 lead in the first inning off a two-run homer by Platt and a RBI single by Tiffany Upchurch to score Mariah Fernandez, who doubled down the right field line with two outs.

Gary made it 4-0 in the second inning with a two-out solo homer to right center field.

In the fourth inning, Kline walked with one out and moved to second illegal pitch during Shaver’s strikeout in the next at-bat. The Eagles intentionally walked Simon before Breaux struck out Morales to end the inning.

The Eagles scored two more runs in the seventh inning and got three scoreless innings to come away with the doubleheader sweep.

The Dolphins returns to action on Tuesday when they host Georgia Southern at 4:30 p.m. for a twin bill at the JU Softball Complex.