Softball Opens 2016 with Doubleheader Split

Written by: Will Johansen, Sports Information Assistant

Photo courtesy of Ron HilliardPhoto courtesy of Ron Hilliard

MELBOURNE, Fla.- The Palm Beach Atlantic softball team(1-1) officially opened their 2016 season Saturday afternoon in the Florida Tech/Marriott Kickoff Classic. The Sailfish split their first two games, defeating Flagler College 5-3 in the opener, and falling to Texas Woman’s University 6-3 in the nightcap.

Game one saw the Sailfish debut for pitcher Nikki Brinegar (1-0). The junior from Clermont, Fla. pitched 6.2 innings, and the southpaw only allowed one earned run in her debut.

Senior Rachel Hill (0-1) was in the circle for the ‘Fish as the blue and white took on Texas Woman’s University. The Lilburn, Ga. native got tagged with the loss, despite only allowing one earned run in her 5.2 innings of work

Game One:Palm Beach Atlantic 5, Flagler College 3
The ‘Fish got on the scoreboard first in the top of the second when Sailfish newcomer Brianna Skipper picked up her first RBI of the campaign, driving in Devin Williams. A few batters later freshman Maddie Bertisch reached on a Saints error, allowing Briana Rano to score.

The Sailfish would hold on to the 2-0 lead until the bottom of the fourth when Flager was able to score one via a Sailfish error, cutting the PBA lead in half.

Following a Victoria Gonzalez single in the top of the fifth, Kayla Knight singled up the middle on a 2-2 pitch, setting up two Flagler errors that would allow Gonzalez and Knight to score on the play, putting the sailfish up 4-1.

The Sailfish added an insurance run in the top of the seventh via a Shelby Wood sacrifice fly to center field, driving in Victoria Gonzalez, who reached base to lead off the inning thanks to a four-pitch walk.

Things got a little shaky for the Sailfish in the bottom of the seventh, as Flagler was able to score two runs, eventually knocking Brinnegar out of the game. Coach Kimmy Bloemers would call upon senior Amber Johnson to shut the door for the final out, as Johnson retired the first batter she faced.

Game Two: Palm Beach Atlantic 3, Texas Woman's University 6
The Sailfish fell behind early in their second game of the day, as the Texas Woman’s University Pioneers were able to plate a run in the top of the first and again in the top of the fourth.

Shelby Wood got things going for the ‘Fish in the bottom of the fourth, reaching first on a five-pitch walk. Wood scored from first four pitches later when Brianna Rano tripled to deep right center. Rano scored the following at-bat via a fielder’s choice that allowed Brianna Skipper to reach first base.

The Sailfish took the lead the following inning as freshman Maddie Bertisch singled to left center to start things off in the bottom of the fifth. Following a wild pitch, Bertisch took two bases, and scored two batters later when Kayla Knight drove her in via a sacrifice fly.

Defense ended up costing the Sailfish the game in the top of the sixth, as the Pioneers were able to plate four unearned runs, taking a 6-3 lead, which was the final score of the game.

The Sailfish return to action tomorrow, Sunday, January 31st as they take on Mars Hill College at 2 p.m. in the final day of the Florida Tech/ Marriott Kickoff Classic.

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