Sailfish Hand the University of Tampa Extra Innings Loss at Eckerd Tournament Opener
February 20, 2009
Written By: Michael Brown, Palm Beach Atlantic University SID
CLEARWATER, Fla.- Check off another top Sunshine State Conference opponent the Palm Beach Atlantic University softball team has defeated in 2009. The preseason #10-ranked University of Tampa softball team was defeated by the Sailfish 7-6 in nine innings on Friday afternoon in the opening game of the Eckerd College Tournament.
In somewhat similar fashion as their defeat of #4-ranked Barry University in the opener of the BU/NSU Invitational a few weeks ago, the Sailfish (10-5) were taking on an opponent who was playing their first game and were handed their first defeat.
The Sailfish used ace right-hander Ashley Jones who despite falling behind 1-0 after two innings, held strong to record her sixth victory of the season against two defeats.
Trailing 1-0 entering the bottom of the third inning, the Sailfish took the lead when catcher Candace Horton led things off with a double followed later in the inning by an RBI single from Becca Bolinger. Left-fielder Chelsea Gravini would follow Bolinger’s run-scoring base-hit with one of her own as she plated the speedy-Bolinger on a RBI double to take a 2-1 lead.
The Fish weren’t done just yet however as they plated four more runs in the fourth inning to take a 6-3 lead after the Spartans brought home a run in their half of the fourth. PBA did all their damage after two were out and nobody on.
New centerfielder Chris Donovan started the big rally with a two-out single followed by a walk to Horton. Next stepped in freshman right-fielder Brittany Schneider who proceeded to drill a two-run double down the left-field line. The rally continued with a run-scoring single from Mari Stokes and then back-to-back singles from Bolinger and Gravini to bring home the final two runs of the inning.
The Spartans would make it three consecutive innings pushing across a single run as they plated a run in the fifth and sixth innings to draw closer to the Sailfish lead. They would go on to eventually tie the game in the seventh inning as they pushed across a pair of runs to tie the game at six runs apiece and force extra innings.
Despite a few chances by both teams to finish out their opponent, Palm Beach Atlantic would wait until the bottom of the ninth inning to finally capitalize on the international tie-breaking rules which places a runner on second-base to start each inning.
With Gravini placed on second-base, the Spartans elected to intentionally walk Caitlin Bouschet. With two on and nobdody out, first-baseman Dani Perrotti laid down a sacrifice bunt moving each runner up. Next stepped in Abbey Shipman who was walked followed by a fielder’s choice from Donovan that forced Gravini at the plate.
Horton would close the door for PBA in quiet but grand-fashion as she took a five-pitch walk from Henriott that gave the Sailifsh a walk-off victory.
Stokes finished with team-high honors for the Sailfish in hits with three in five at-bats while Bolinger, Gravini, and Horton all had two hits each. Horton also walked three times.
Jones went the distance for the Fish earning her sixth win. She struck out 10 batters and walked just one while giving up 11 hits and six runs (five earned).