TUESDAY, APRIL 17, 2012
Florida Gulf Coast came from behind twice and produced two walk-off hits to sweep the Dolphins in Ft. Myers, FL on Tuesday. JU lost both games 3-2 with the first game not being decided until the 11th inning.
Sarah Sigrest (15-10) went the distance for the Dolphins in the marathon first game. She struck out 10 batters in 10 and 2/3 innings allowing five hits and only two earned runs, but came away with the loss.
After seven complete innings, the game was tied at one and it look as if neither team would be able to manage a run off of the two dueling pitchers.
The Eagles almost ended the game in the bottom of the ninth inning. FGCU loaded the bases with two outs and the batter ran the count full. Sigrest got out of the inning and prolonged the game by getting the huge swinging strikeout.
A team had to score at some point, especially since the international tie breaker came into effect in the tenth inning. Neither team could take advantage of the runner placed in scoring position in the 10th, but the Dolphins capitalized in the 11th.
Ronnie Gajownik started the inning on second since she made the last out the inning before. She moved to third after a sacrifice bunt from Melissa Morales. That brought up the Dolphin’s leadoff hitter Codi Kelly. She stepped up and double to left center to easily score Gajownik and put the Dolphins up for the first time all game.
It seemed as if the Dolphins had the game won, but the Eagles would not go down without a fight. The first batter of the inning laid down a bunt to sacrifice the runner at second over. Instead of getting the sure out at first, Amanda Schmidt fielded the ball and turned and fired to the covering Gajownik at third who could not tag the runner out in time. A walk eventually loaded the bases for FGCU without any outs. Sigrest got the next batter to pop up for out one. Jessica Barnes, who had hit a solo home run earlier in the game, then came to the plate and lifted a ball to deep centerfield that scored the runner from third and tied the game. The Eagles, down to their last strike, then got a weakly hit single over the left side of the infield for the dramatic walk-off victory.
The second game proved to be just as cruel for the Dolphins.
Brittany Eppley (8-8) continued her strong success of late and shut down the Eagle batters all night long until the final inning. She struck out six and gave up seven hits, but four of those came in the final frame.
The score remained tied at zero until the top of the fourth inning when Karson Tuck put a ball over the fence for the third straight opponent. Ashley Simon hit a deep single to reach base and bring up Tuck. On the first pitch she saw, Tuck hit a ball to left center that literally landed on top of the outfield fence and fortuitously bounced over and out of play. The home run was Tuck’s third of the season and put JU up 2-0.
JU failed to add insurance runs in the seventh when they had two runners tagged out at home on the same play to end the inning.
The Eagles, with their backs against the wall, refused to lose and stepped up for the second straight game. With runners on second and third with two outs, FGCU got a pinch hit double to left center that tied the game up at two. That brought up Barnes to the plate who came through in the clutch yet again with a single to the right field fence scoring the winning run from second.
The two loses move the Dolphins to 26-21 and 7-7 in Atlantic Sun play. JU will face cross-town rivals UNF on Friday for a doubleheader with both teams fighting for a spot in the conference tournament. Game one of the doubleheader is scheduled to start at 5:00 pm.