FRIDAY, MARCH 22, 2013
Dolphins falter against Spartans

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.—The JU softball team had its six-game winning streak snapped on Friday when it dropped both games of a doubleheader against conference foe USC Upstate.  The Dolphins fell 7-2 in game one followed by a 12-7 loss in game two. 

In what had been a strong point in conference play, the Dolphin pitching struggled against the Spartan bats. 

Freshman Taylor Rossman (2-4) stepped into the circle in game one and kept the Dolphins into the game up until the seventh inning.  She went 6.1 innings giving up six hits and three earned runs.

The Spartans struck first in the top of the second with the long ball. 

After a one out triple, Upstate’s second baseman Dana Landers sent a pitch well over the left center wall to leave JU trailing 2-0.

The JU offense could not get going all game stranding eight runners on the bases. 

The Spartans would add another run in the fourth and took a 3-0 lead into the seventh inning. 

Any chance of a Dolphin comeback was squashed in the top of the seventh when Upstate was able to plate four more runs and extend their lead to 7-0. 

Too little too late, the Dolphins would score two runs in the bottom of the seventh off of a bases loaded RBI walk from Victoria Brown and a sacrifice fly from Sarah Simon. 

The second game of the doubleheader proved to be much more of a back and forth contest as both teams combined for 24 hits and 19 runs.

The Dolphins took an early 2-0 lead in the first thanks to RBI doubles from Simon and shortstop Karson Tuck. 

Brown (7-4) started for the Dolphins in the circle and pitched a complete game and had success at times but could not escape big innings.

The Spartans regained the lead in the top of the second off of a single and a two RBI double to go up 3-2.

JU responded in the bottom half of the inning when Brown smashed a pitch over the left field fence for a two-run home run that put the Dolphins up 4-3. 

After holding retiring the Spartans in order in the top of the third, the Dolphins would add two more runs for the third straight inning and go up 6-3.

A leadoff single and a strikeout brought up right fielder Meagan Balding who hit a towering fly ball out of the park for her first home run of the season.

Upstate would strike back however in the top of the fourth with four runs including a three-run home run to retake the lead at 7-6.

Once again, JU responded scoring for the fourth straight inning. 

A leadoff single by left fielder Jacey Warner followed by a walk gave JU runners on first and second.  After a strikeout, third baseman Ashley Simon hit a pitch right back up the middle and into center field allowing Warner to score from second and tie the game at 7-7.

Unfortunately for the Dolphins, that would be their last run of the day. 

The Spartans would add runs in the fifth and sixth innings and then three in the seventh to take the game 12-7.

The Dolphins (21-10, 5-3 A-Sun) and Spartans (23-3, 7-1 A-Sun) return tomorrow for the series finale at the JU Softball Complex. Game time is schedule for 1 p.m.