NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Despite back-to-back home runs from Heather Roberts and Madison Ragan to open the game, Jacksonville softball's extra-innings win streak was broken up in the opening game of the 2017 ASUN Conference Tournament by #3 North Florida, 6-5, in eight innings Wednesday afternoon at Draper Diamond.
Riding a three-game extra-inning win streak after sweeping Stetson last weekend to clinch the #6 seed in the ASUN Tournament, the Dolphins battled three ties in the score and remained locked at 5-5 at the end of seven to force the fourth extras game in five days.
With two outs in the bottom of the eighth, North Florida's Kayla McGory drew a walk and Dominica Cocuzza, hitting .363, was intentionally walked. With Ospreys on first and second, Ashley Niesman singled into left center field to bring the winning run home from second base, 6-5.
The Dolphins (30-24) lit the offensive spark in the top of the first when Roberts hit her seventh home run of the season that nailed the fair pole in left field. Ragan, the next batter, saw just two pitches before she, too, sent the ball over the left field fence to give JU a 2-0 lead.
With bases loaded in the bottom of the frame, Cocuzza drove in two runs to tie the game on a single into right center field. The next two Ospreys lined out to Makenzie Buss at second base to end the inning.
Roberts surged the Dolphins ahead once more in the top of the third on a two-run single, this time hit in the opposite direction to right field, which brought in Allie McCourt and Kristen Griffith for a 4-2 Dolphin lead.
The lead didn't last long, however, as UNF (31-25) used five hits to drive in three runs in the bottom of the inning for a 5-4 advantage.
Jacksonville countered in the top of the fourth after Jordan Daniels led off with a single down the left field line. Buss laid down a sacrifice bunt and Bethany Kursch, who came in to pinch hit for Jacqueline Hodskins, singled into right field to get Dolphins on first and third with one out.
With two balls and one strike, Griffith sent a bunt halfway up the first base line to get the Osprey defense moving and send Daniels across the plate to tie the game, 5-5.
Both teams had chances in subsequent innings, as Alyssa Bilodeau got UNF's Niesman out swinging in the bottom of the fourth with the bases loaded to get out of a jam. The Dolphins had runners in scoring position with two down in the top of the sixth, but a pop out to short ended those chances.
Bilodeau started the game, threw 5.1 innings, and struck out three, before Ragan closed out the last 2.1 innings in the circle and suffered the loss to fall to 7-6 on the year.
Roberts (3-for-4) led the Dolphins at the plate with a home run, and double, and three RBI. Daniels added a 2-for-3 performance with a run scored.
Morgan Blourne (11-5) earned the win in the circle for the Ospreys, while Navia Penrod (3-for-5) led UNF at the plate.
The Dolphins return to action tomorrow, May 11 when they take on #5 Lipscomb at 3:00 p.m. EST.