JACKSONVILLE, Fla.—The JU softball team returned to the JU Softball Complex Sunday afternoon to play the rubber match in the three game series between Lipscomb. JU won the game 3-1 and took the series two games to one.
Senior Dale Tillman was in the circle for the Dolphins and had a strong outing going six innings and giving up just the one run on five hits.
The Dolphins (16-8, 2-1 A-Sun) looked in trouble in the fist as Lipscomb (8-11, 1-2 A-Sun) was able to load the bases.
After a groundout, Lipscomb used a walk and a single along with some heads-up base running to get runners on second and third with one out. Tillman then made a great play scooping up a ground ball hit back to her and firing to the blocking Sarah Simon at home to prevent a run from being scored and to pick up out number two. The Bisons loaded the bases however after a walk putting the pressure on the JU defense to make a play. Third baseman Ashley Simon did just that as she fielded a sharply hit ball and stepped on third base to end the inning and get the Dolphins out of the jam.
The JU bats were held in check until the third inning where they were able to string together some singles and plate three runs to take the lead.
After a groundout to start the bottom of the third, second baseman Codi Kelly walked to bring up first baseman Emily Sanchez. She hit a pitch back to the pitcher and made it to first before the pitcher could recover and throw her out. Adrienne Ramsay came in to pinch run for Sanchez and reached third after Sarah Simon singled to the center fielder who misplayed the ball. Kelly was able to score on the play and give JU the game’s first run. Morgan Kibler then came in to run for Simon at second base as JU had runners on second and third with one out. Ashley Simon followed with a single of her own to centerfield that brought in Ramsay and Kibler to put the Dolphins up 3-0.
Following the rough first inning, Tillman shut down the Lipscomb offense up until the seventh inning when the Bisons were able break through and tighten things up.
Lipscomb’s Kristen Sturdivant led off the top of the seventh with an impressive shot over the right field fences that cleared the palm trees. Tillman then hit the next batter and her day was done.
Freshman Cecile Gomez came on in relief looking to preserve the lead and pick up the three out save.
Gomez induced the first batter she faced to popup to center leaving the Dolphins just two outs away from the game and series win. The next batter hit a ball to short stop Karson Tuck who fielded it cleanly but hesitated with what to do next and ended up throwing the ball away after trying to get the runner out at second. The next Lipscomb batter hit a popup to center that was just shallow enough to drop in front of center fielder Victoria Brown for a single. Because the ball looked as if it had a chance to be caught, the runners had to hold up and Brown was able to field the ball and fire it over to third for the second out of the inning. Gomez then finished off her second save of the season by getting the final batter to groundout to third.
The Dolphins will play their first conference road games next weekend when they travel to ETSU to play a doubleheader on March 16 followed by a single game on March 17.