MIAMI, Fla. – The Jacksonville University softball team opened its 2014 season with a split by demolishing DePaul 12-0 in five before falling 5-3 to host Florida International University on Friday on day one of the Felsberg Memorial Tournament.
Sophomore pitcher Victoria Brown (1-0) earned the win over Big East preseason favorite DePaul after fanning three and allowing six hits in the complete effort. Against FIU, freshman Jessi Walker (0-1) – earning her first collegiate start – allowed four hits and five earned runs in two innings before sophomore Taylor Rossman came in for relief in the third, striking out five.
"I'm really happy with our first day out," Head Coach Ali Higgs said. "We showed what we are capable of this season in game one verses DePaul. We looked relaxed and confident and were able to get a lot of players opportunities. It was a huge team win."
Offensively, Emily Sanchez led the team with five RBI, while Brown followed with four total; two in each game. Brown also recorded two home runs.
Against DePaul (1-1), Jacksonville (1-1) scored in all but the fifth inning, garnered 15 hits and tallied two home runs. Sanchez started things off in the top of the first, blasting a three-run homer to left center to score Codi Kelly and Karson Tuck.
The Fins followed in the second with four runs off of five hits. Brown hit a two-run home run to left, scoring Jackie DiPiazza, who initially singled to left, stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Stephanie Frances followed with an RBI double to plate Tuck, while Cecile Gomez doubled to center to score pinch runner Miranda Fleming to lead DePaul 7-0.
Three more runs were added in the third and one in the fourth, respectively, for Jacksonville’s shutout. DiPiazza scored when Tuck singled to right, Sanchez hit a two RBI single to center to plate Brown and Kelly, and Tuck scored after Gomez reached on a fielder’s choice. Jacksonville’s 12th and final run was recorded in the fourth when pinch runner Sable Lee stole second, advanced to third on a throwing error and scored on a wild pitch.
Tuck led against DePaul with three runs, while Brown, Kelly and DiPiazza each followed with two apiece.
DePaul had chances in the second with bases loaded after three singles before Staci Bonezek struck out looking to leave all on base. The Blue Demons also left two stranded in the fourth.
Against FIU (2-0), the Panthers opened the game in the bottom of the second before Jacksonville tied it 2-all in the top of the third on a Brown homer, scoring DiPiazza. In the bottom, FIU added three runs from Rebekah Sanchez and Shelby Graves.
Adrienne Ramsey added a pinch run score in the top of the sixth on Brooke Smith’s RBI single to bring the game to the ultimate score of 5-3.
"I liked our effort and our fight in game two," Higgs continued. "We never gave up and Taylor Rossman came in strong in relief to give us a solid chance to win."
The Dolphins are back in action tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. to face-off against Maryland. Follow live tweets at @JUsoftball.