Softball returns to action Friday on the road
After having three home dates rained out, the Jacksonville University softball team will migrate south Friday for the Florida Atlantic Classic in Boca Raton, Fla.

The Dolphins (10-4) open the tourney Friday against Harvard at 9 a.m. and finish the day against Eastern Michigan at 1 p.m. On Saturday, JU plays Michigan State (4 p.m.) and the host Owls (8 p.m.) before closing the tourney with Ball State Sunday at 9 a.m.

“We are ready to get back at it,” JU head coach Ali Higgs said. “The rain cost us some games, but it allowed us to rest a little for our final set of non-conference games before league play. We have played well so far, but still have some areas to improve. This weekend will be a good chance to get better.”

Last time out, the Dolphins secured wins against Seton Hall (10-2 (5), 2/22) and Delaware (8-2, 2/23) in the JU Invitational before rains washed out the final three contests.

Juniors Jacey Warner and Karson Tuck combined for seven RBI to lead the Dolphins’ offense. Freshman Cecile Gomez struck out 11 batters in 9.1 innings for a win and a save.

Offensively, senior Sarah Simon leads the Dolphins’ overall in average (.405), hits (17), home runs (5) and RBI (11). Freshmen Emily Sanchez and Victoria Brown are each hitting better than .340 to rank second and third, respectively, behind Simon. Sophomore Ashley Simon has eight RBI and three home runs early in the season for J.

In the circle, Gomez is 4-0 with a 1.05 ERA and 29 strikeouts in 26.2 innings of work. Brown has 24 strikeouts and a 1.40 ERA for a 3-1 record.

Michigan State (8-6) and Ball State (6-3) are two of the three teams that will come into Boca Raton with a winning record. Eastern Michigan (2-3) has lost the last three in a row, while the Owls (5-9) lost two of the final three games in their tournament last weekend. This will be the first set of games for the Crimson this weekend.

In the recent matchups against the field, the Dolphins beat Eastern Michigan and Florida Atlantic twice last season. JU dropped a one-run decision to Michigan State, 6-5, in 2008, while getting swept in by Ball State at home in 2007. This will be the first meeting for JU against Harvard.

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