Sailfish Make it a Dozen; PBA wins Twelfth in a Row with Road Sweep of FIT

Written By: Michael Brown, PBA Sports Information Director

Caitlin Bouschet (Pictured) Drove in a Run with a Single, Walked Twice, and Made Perhaps the Defensive Play of the Game in PBA's Game Two Win Over FIT on Wednesday. Photo Courtesy of: Lori Richards. Caitlin Bouschet (Pictured) Drove in a Run with a Single, Walked Twice, and Made Perhaps the Defensive Play of the Game in PBA's Game Two Win Over FIT on Wednesday. Photo Courtesy of: Lori Richards.

Box Score

MELBOURNE, Fla.- Pushing their winning streak to a program-record 12 straight games, the Palm Beach Atlantic University softball team once again played their game on Wednesday afternoon and came away with a double-header sweep of Florida Tech in Melbourne at Nancy Bottge Field. The Fish received a solid start in game one from Heather Laird while fellow senior Ashley Jones came on for a save in the 2-1 victory in the opener then earned a win herself in the 3-1 game two win.

With the release of today’s NCAA regional rankings placing the Sailfish (27-7) eighth in the South Region, the Fish stand to move up even further with next week’s poll as they swept regional opponents Barry University and Florida Tech on back-to-back days.

Boasting a roster and overall style very similar to PBA in terms of solid pitching and good defensive play, the Panthers (18-16) were riding a five-game winning streak entering play today before dropping both ends of the double-header.

Game one featured Laird and FIT starter Brianna Barth trading solid pitching performances while Jones and Tiffani Bishop went to the circle in game two for their respective teams.

The opener was as expected between the two teams through the first three innings with neither team able to push across a run. PBA finally broke through in the top of the fourth inning as sophomore Brittany Schneider delivered a two-out RBI single that plated Cassady Faircloth for a 1-0 lead.

The Fish tacked on another run in the top of the fifth frame when Dani Perrotti ledoff with a walk then pinch-runner Kim Doney moved into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt from Miranda Welch. A hard groundball by Chelsea Gravini skipped off FIT first-baseman Tyler Miller and into right-field to allow Doney to come in to score for a 2-0 lead.

Florida Tech would cut the lead in half in the bottom of the fifth as Reanna Witt came through with a two-out single followed by a run-scoring triple by Miller into the right-centerfield gap.

With Jones ready and waiting, Sailfish head coach Kimmy Bloemers opted to put Jones in for the final two innings. Although FIT threatened with a base runner in the bottom of the seventh inning, Jones closed the door on the 2-1 opening game win.

The victory moves Laird to 9-0 on the season as she allowed only three hits in five innings with no walks and no strikeouts. Jones allowed one hit in her two innings of work with four strikeouts as she tallied her second save of the season.

Barth took the loss as she dropped to 11-9 on the year  while pitching well in defeat as she allowed onlyl four hits and two runs (one earned) with five strikeouts and one walk.

Caitlin Bouschet finished 2-for-3 in the first game while Stokes and Schneider accounted for the only other hits for PBA with Schneider collecting the RBI.

In game two, Jones went back to the circle and while she had to work in and out of jams throughout the game, she settled in for a complete-game with eight strikeouts, two walks, and two hit-batsmen. The senior Jensen Beach High School product gave up six hits and one earned run.

Ranked as the second lowest earned-run average in the nation entering play today at 0.55, Bishop opposed Jones in the pitcher’s circle who entered play ranking fourth in the nation with a 0.69 ERA. Both pitchers would live up to the billing although the first two innings it appeared as if Bishop might not last long.

The senior Melbourne native loaded the bases in the top of the first inning with nobody out when Faircloth stepped in an registered an infield single to score Natalia Ojeda for the game’s first run. With the bases still loaded and nobody down, the Panthers got a big lift on the next play as Stokes lined into a double-play.   Another single would follow but Bishop escaped further damage on a groundout.

PBA added another run in the top of the second inning to take a 2-0 lead when Chelsea Gravini connected for a one-out double then moved to third-base on a sacrifice bunt and came into score on a passed ball.

FIT matched the Fish in the bottom of the second when Brooke Fisher lined a single up the middle to score Lani Ankiel who doubled to leadoff the inning.

From that point, both pitchers would settle in as Bishop retired ten batters in a row at one point while Jones continued to rack up the strikeouts. The key play in the game came in the bottom of the fourth inning when FIT leadoff hitter Sarah Oram connected on a hard groundball up the middle with the bases loaded that Bouschet made a full-extension diving stop and flipped to Ojeda covering  second-base for the final out of the inning as PBA preserved their one run lead.

PBA added an insurance run in the top of the seventh inning as Caitlin Bouschet lined a single into left-field to score pinch-runner Chris Donovan to move ahead 3-1.

Schneider finished 2-for-3 in the game as she continues her good hitting of late. Bouschet was 1-for-2 with a pair of walks and an RBI.

PBA will return home on Saturday, April 10th as they take Ave Maria University in a first-time matchup between the Sailfish and the first-year program from the Naples, Florida area. The double-header will begin at 2 p.m. on the campus of Palm Beach Gardens High School.

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