PBA Splits With No. 14 Tampa To Open Up Simpson Field

Written By: Kyler Ludlow, Sports Information Director

Sophomore Kayla Knight (Pictured) Had Three Hits In Six Chances In Saturday's Double Header (Photo Credit: Lori Richards).Sophomore Kayla Knight (Pictured) Had Three Hits In Six Chances In Saturday's Double Header (Photo Credit: Lori Richards).

Box Score

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Palm Beach Atlantic softball opened up the 2015 home campaign by welcoming the NFCA No. 14-ranked University of Tampa to the beautiful Simpson Field, splitting the double dip with the Spartans on Saturday afternoon.

Tampa would take the victory in the first matchup, 2-1, while Palm Beach Atlantic recovered with an offensive outburst in game two, winning 9-3.

UT struck first in the opening inning, getting back-to-back singles to lead off the game. After a strikeout and lineout made it appear that the Sailfish would wiggle their way out of trouble, the Spartans got a two-out single through the right side to put the visitors on top.

PBA came right back in their half of the first inning when sophomore Kayla Knight singled down the left field line to start the game, Devin Williams followed with a walk, and both advanced on the base paths thanks to a wild pitch. That’s when Tampa starter Julia Morrow, who came into the contest with a 0.00 ERA for the season, settled in. The right-handed senior not only got out of the inning unscathed, but she also worked through the Sailfish lineup in perfect order over the next five innings.

The game’s eventual winning run came across in the third inning thanks to a Sailfish error. After starting the inning with a throwing error that put the leadoff batter on second, a groundout and passed ball gave the Spartans a 2-0 lead.

With Morrow cruising and the game in its final inning, the Sailfish mounted a nail-biting comeback. Lindsey Johnson singled up the middle to get the seventh frame started, then advanced to second on a groundout. Shelby Wood singled through the left side to put runners on the corners and passed ball brought home the first PBA run and put the tying run on second. With two away in the inning freshman Loren Kilgore lined out to centerfield to end the threat.

Rachel Hill pitched the final six innings after replacing Amber Johnson (Loss, 0-1) and pitched admirably, striking out four while walking two, allowing only one hit and surrendering one unearned run.

Saturday’s second game started in much of the same fashion as the first, with Tampa getting on the board early by taking advantage of Palm Beach Atlantic errors. The Spartans plated two in the first inning and added another in the second, all unearned.

After committing three errors on defense in the first, the Sailfish were able to come back with a run of their own in the bottom of the frame. Devin Williams smacked a one out triple to left field and came home on a Lindsey Johnson groundout. Once UT got the run back in the second the PBA bats woke up.

The third inning rally started thanks to a single with one out by Kayla Knight. Williams delivered another extra-base hit, this time a double, to put the Sailfish in business with runners on second and third. Johnson was then hit by a pitch, and Victoria Gonzalez came through with a single through the left side to pull the ‘Fish within one. After a strikeout, Theresa Butler reached on an infield single that tied the game and kept the bases juiced. PBA got the lead for good when a wild pitch advanced all the runners and put them on top, 4-3.

Just when the offense started to click, sophomore Corrie Boggess (Win, 2-3) worked a perfect top of the fourth inning in the circle, getting two strikeouts and a weak groundout. Fittingly, Boggess started the home half of the fourth inning with a ringing double to left center field and the hit parade began again.

A wild pitch moved pinch runner Brianna Rano over to third and Stephanie Garrels followed with a bunt single down the third base line. Once the third baseman picked the ball up she looked back Rano and decided to keep the ball, and Garrels took off for second base. The speedster went into second standing up and didn’t draw a throw.

With the game hanging in the balance, Tampa once again dipped into the bullpen and brought back their ace. Knight greeted the right-hander with a scorched line drive to right center that was caught on a great play from the right fielder, but it was deep enough to score the run. Now leading 5-3, Williams laid down a bunt and pulled the same move as Garrels did before, taking off for second right away and going in standing up. After a strikeout, both runners were able to move ahead thanks to a wild pitch, and then Gonzales came through for the Sailfish again. The sophomore rocked a double to left center field, and the route was on. Shelby Wood smacked a single through the left side that plated another run, and by the time the inning came to an end Palm Beach Atlantic led 8-3.

Palm Beach Atlantic would tack another run to the board in the sixth inning thanks to another RBI double from Gonzalez that scored Knight, and the six-run cushion stood for Boggess on the mound.

The right-hander struck out five without allowing a free pass and only surrendered three hits in the complete game. All three runs that came across for Tampa were unearned.

Williams finished the game 3-for-3 with a double and triple and three runs scored, while Gonzalez added three hits and three RBI at the dish. Knight, hitting from the leadoff spot, went 2-for-3 with two runs and an RBI and Butler added a 2-for-3 performance as well.

PBA returns to action on Tuesday afternoon when they welcome Florida Southern College to Simpson Field at 4:00 pm.

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