Sailfish Softball Splits on Final Day of UWF Tournament

Written By: Michael Brown, PBA Sports Information Director

Natalia Ojeda (Left) and Dani Perrotti (Right) Get Set and Ready for a Pitch. Photo Courtesy of: Michael Brown. Natalia Ojeda (Left) and Dani Perrotti (Right) Get Set and Ready for a Pitch. Photo Courtesy of: Michael Brown.

Box Score

PENSACOLA, Fla.- After a pair of heart-breaking 2-1 losses to the University of West Florida on Saturday at the UWF Crossover Tournament, the Palm Beach Atlantic University softball team got back at it again on Sunday to close out the weekend with two more NCAA South Region contests. After a 3-0 victory over the University of North Alabama in morning opener, the Fish once again fell victim to a late rally as Saint Leo University tallied a 3-2 win over PBA in the finale.

Senior right-hander Heather Laird (2-0) pitched for PBA in the opener against UNA and came away with an outstanding five-inning effort as she limited the Lions to only three hits and just one walk while collecting five strikeouts. Fellow senior Ashley Jones came on for a two-inning save and allowed only one hit and struck out a pair for her first save of the season.

The Fish struck for a pair of runs in the bottom of the third inning, both with two outs. After Caitlin Bouschet tallied a one-out single, Natalia Ojeda was retired on strikes, setting up the two-out rally. A walk to Erica Walters put Bouschet at second-base before Mari Stokes delivered a single through the left-side.

Senior Chelsea Gravini was then promptly hit in the helmet by UNA right-hander Jennifer Sexton with her first pitch which brought Bouschet to score. Dani Perrotti then followed with a run-scoring single to make it 2-0.

PBA tacked on another run in the fourth inning as Ojeda delivered a suicide squeeze bunt single that scored fellow freshman Miranda Welch who started the inning by being hit by a pitch.

The Fish would continue to pile base-runners on however they would also leave many stranded as 12 runners were left on base during the game. The Blue and White tallied six hits in the game while also drawing five walks.

Sexton took the loss for UNA as she went all six innings while allowing the three earned runs, striking out four, and walking five.

Bouschet finished with a 2-for-2 showing at the plate for PBA while also adding in a walk.

Game two featured another tight contest for PBA on the main diamond at the UWF Softball Complex.

The Fish once again sent Jones to the pitcher’s circle to take on another tough opponent in Saint Leo. Jones responded with another solid outing however a hit from slugging-outfielder Tiffinee Harvey drove home Jessica Figueredo for the game-winner and a 3-2 Saint Leo win in the bottom of the seventh inning.

PBA allowed two unearned runs to the Lions in the first-inning as SLU took advantage of a play which the Sailfish committed two errors on the same play.

After a one-out single from Elysha Agen began the first-inning and a Harvey walk put runners at first and second base, Brittany Yates reached when her line-drive bounced off PBA third-baseman Miranda Welch’s glove and into left-field with Agen coming in to score as left-fielder Chelsea Gravini was unable to handle the ball in left-field.

Sarah Boyd then followed with an RBI single to make it a quick 2-0 lead for Saint Leo. Jones escaped further damage in the inning by striking out the next two batters.

Palm Beach Atlantic cut the deficit in half with a run in the top of the second-inning. Stokes drove home Cassady Faircltoh from second-base on an RBI single up the middle that allowed Faircloth to slide just ahead of the on-coming throw.

That is where things would stay for both teams over the next five innings as Jones and her SLU counterpart Ashton Whidden began putting zero-after-zero up on the scoreboard.

Trailing 2-1 entering the top of the seventh inning, the Sailfish received a two-out single from Bouschet which plated the tying run as pinch-runner Brittany Schneider coasted home on the soft liner over shortstop.

Now tied 2-2, it would be young freshman Figueredo who would get things started for SLU in the bottom half as she reached first to lead off the frame, beating out a throw to first-base. Amber Martyn followed with a sacrifice bunt to move Figueredo into scoring position. After a walk to Agen, Harvey was able to step up and deliver the game-winning hit into right-field for the 3-2 SLU win.

Her third such tough-luck loss of the tournament, Jones record drops to 2-3 on the season despite an earned-run average hovering around 1.00. Against SLU, Jones managed five strikeouts and two walks while allowing eight hits and three runs.

On the other side, Whidden (3-0) tallied the win as she allowed seven hits while striking out six batters and walking three.

Ojeda and Stokes both tallied multi-hit games for PBA with Stokes also driving in one.

PBA will take the next six days off from game action before returning to the field to take on Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Florida on Saturday, February 20th. The double-header is slated to begin at 2 p.m.

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