CLEARWATER, Fla. – The FGCU softball team lost both games on the second day of the USF The Game tournament at the Eddie C. Moore Complex in Clearwater, Fla. The Eagles fell to No. 18 Oklahoma State, 6-2, before losing to Northern Illinois, 7-5. Hayley O’Mara (Naples, Fla.) picked up four hits in seven at-bats on the day. With the losses, the Blue and Green fall to 11-19 on the season.
Oklahoma State (24-7) took an early lead, manufacturing a run with a single, steal, and two sacrifices to score once in the top of the first inning.
The Cowgirls added another run in the third inning, using a two-out single from Katelyn Bright to take a 2-0 lead.
The Eagles put together a rally in the bottom of the fourth, stringing together three hits to score twice. O’Mara led off the inning with an infield single, and Mariah Fernandez (Cape Coral, Fla.) followed with a double down the left field line, putting runners on second and third with nobody out. Tiffani Upchurch (Lake Wales, Fla.) quickly took advantage of the scoring opportunity, driving a double over the center fielder’s head to score both runners (2-2).
OSU responded quickly, putting a four spot up in the next inning. The Cowgirls recorded five singles in the inning and the Eagles committed two errors, leading to a 6-2 advantage for Oklahoma State.
The Blue and Green had a pair of runners on in both the fifth and seventh innings, but FGCU wasn’t able to cut into the OSU lead, losing by a final score of 6-2. For the game, the Eagles left nine runners on base.
Kelci Breaux (Okeechobee, Fla.) pitched a complete game, taking the loss to drop to 3-6 on the season. Breaux allowed six runs on 11 hits, striking out five and walking none.
Jessica Gary (Naples, Fla.) was solid at the plate, finishing the game 3-for-4. As a team, FGCU struck out 14 times against Oklahoma State’s Anna Whiddon, who improved to 14-3 with the win.
In game two, the Eagles dug themselves a deep hole early, falling behind 7-1 after two innings.
Northern Illinois (6-13) scored four times in the first inning, all with two outs. The Huskies used three hits and an error to do the damage. Carly Norton’s two-run double plated the first two runs, while Dani Parrish’s two-run triple gave NIU a 4-0 lead.
The Eagles got one run back in the second inning thanks to a two-out RBI double from Nicole Boswell (Jacksonville, Fla.), cutting the deficit to 4-1.
The Huskies tallied three more runs in the bottom of the second on the strength of a three-run home run to center field from Zoe Sinner, giving NIU a 7-1 lead through two innings.
After Gary was hit by a pitch to lead off the third inning, Courtney Platt (Greenville, Ohio) and O’Mara followed with base hits, the latter of which scored Gary from third base, trimming the lead to 7-2.
FGCU was able to dent the scoreboard with three runs in an unusual way in the top of the fifth inning. O’Mara walked and Fernandez singled, putting two runners on with one out. Following a pop out by Upchurch, Erin Olson hit a solid line drive down the right field line. NIU right fielder Kate Welsh dove to try to make the catch, but came up well short, allowing the ball to roll all the way to the fence. All three runners came around to score, giving Olson an inside-the-park home run, her first homer of the season (7-5).
The Eagles had chances in both the sixth and seventh innings, but left the bases loaded in the sixth and two runners on in the seventh, taking a 7-5 defeat. For the game, the Blue and Green left 12 runners on base.
Stephanie Sullivan (Venice, Fla.) pitched a complete game, taking the loss to fall to 3-4 on the year. Sullivan allowed seven runs, only two of which were earned, on nine hits, walking three and striking out three.
Olson finished the game 1-for-2 with a home run, three RBIs, and two runs scored. Platt and O’Mara each picked up a pair of hits in three at-bats.
The Eagles will wrap up the USF The Game tournament with a contest against No. 16 Ohio State tomorrow morning. First pitch is set for 11 a.m.