Florida Gulf Coast
5/10/2013 | Nashville, Tenn. | Attendance: 0
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Finding themselves in an elimination game for the second straight day, this time against 2013 Atlantic Sun regular season champion and No. 1 North Florida (42-14, 18-6 A-Sun), the No. 3 FGCU softball team (36-18, 16-7 A-Sun) suffered a, 2-1, defeat in the bottom of the seventh inning in their matchup with the Ospreys on Friday afternoon at Draper Diamond.
“It was one of those ball game that we have been involved in throughout the second half of the year as it was a really tight ball game all the way through,” said head coach David Deiros. “It was a game that we typically have come out on top in, but it just didn’t work out that way for us this time.”
In the first meeting of the 2013 season between the two teams after a three-game set in Jacksonville, Fla. (May 3-4) was rained out, FGCU looked to spoil the Ospreys first A-Sun tournament appearance.
Both squads used solid pitching to keep opposing batters in check through the first two innings of play as junior Amanda Josie (Estero, Fla./Estero HS) made her second start in as many days, while 2013 A-Sun Pitcher of the Year Kaylie Wallace got the start for North Florida.
With the game still scoreless in the home half of the third inning, the Ospreys used a leadoff single and a pair of infield put outs to place a runner on third for the game’s first scoring threat. A line drive single up the middle scored the base runner and put UNF out front, 1-0.
As both pitchers continued to duel and keep their opposition from increasing the run total, the game turned to the top of the sixth. FGCU went to work with small ball as junior Tori Williams (Dunnellon, Fla./Dunnellon HS) lead off with an infield single and advanced to second on a groundout on the next Eagle batter. With one out, senior Mariah Fernandez (Cape Coral, Fla./North Fort Myers HS) roped a double to the wall in left center to score Williams and knot the game up at one run apiece.
Once the Eagles were unable to break the tie in the top of the seventh, UNF had a chance to steal the game with late-game heroics. With one away, the Ospreys used a pinch hit single and a bunt single to put runners on first and second. Junior Jackie Owen (Cape Coral, Fla./Dayton State College) was then inserted into the game in relief of Josie and a four-pitch walk to the very next batter loaded the bases. Kelly Wilson then stepped to the plate for UNF and singled up the middle to bring across one run and lift her squad to a, 2-1, walk-off win.
“Amanda (Josie) pitched a great ball game, she deserved a better fate and we’ll just try to build on that,” Deiros stated. “I want to congratulate our seniors as they did a fantastic job and I am thankful for all the things they have done for FGCU and for the softball program. I know we didn’t end up where we wanted to end up, but I think this season was a success on a lot of different levels on and off the field.”
FGCU and UNF have had a total of 17 meetings all-time in the history of the programs and after Friday’s game, the Ospreys now lead the series 9-8.