Golden Panthers win three of first four games in Tampa tournament

By: Malcolm Shields / Staff Writer

The Golden Panthers (10-9) traveled to Clearwater, FL to participate in the USF Underarmour Invitational. The tournament was the second of three consecutive road tournaments and FIU would once again depend on clutch hits to pull out win.

The five-game winning streak would vault their season record over the .500 mark for the first time this season.

FIU 4, Western Michigan 3

The Golden Panthers got off to an early start at the plate on Friday as Brie Rojas would drive in the game’s first run on an RBI single that scored Erika Arcuri from third base. Patty Zavala would induce a bases loaded walk by Broncos pitcher Kayla Houston to stake FIU to an early 2-0 lead.

The Broncos would tie up the game in the bottom half of the first inning with consecutive RBI hits by Gracie Barstad and Tara Buchanan off of FIU pitcher Mariah Dawson.

The Broncos would take a 3-2 lead after a single by Lexi Jager in the third inning, but the Golden Panthers would tie the game in the top of the seventh to force the game into extra innings.

FIU would score in the top of the eighth inning to take a 4-3 lead and Dawson would finish off the Broncos in the bottom half of the inning to seal the win.

FIU 1, Loyola Marymount 0

FIU would be locked into a pitchers duel between starting pitcher Ashley McClain and the Lions starting pitcher Stevie Goldstein.

Through the first six innings, neither pitcher surrendered a run. McClain would pitch a complete game allowing no runs and seven hits to the Lions. Goldstein would pitch 6 2-3 innings, giving up nine hits and the game’s lone run.

Leadoff hitter Jessy Alfonso would deliver the game-winning RBI in the bottom of the seventh to give the Golden Panthers a walk-off win.

FIU 1, Columbia 0

Through the first four innings, Dawson for FIU and Columbia pitcher Maggie Johnson would match each other pitch for pitch as both pitchers kept the game scoreless.

Columbia would have chances to score in the fourth and fifth innings, but clutch defensive plays by left fielder Arcuri and first basemen Rachael Slowik would snuff out scoring threats for the Lions.

FIU would score in the fifth inning on a throwing error by first basemen Morgan Cook trying to throw out Beth Peller at third after recording an out on a groundball by Alfonso.

Dawson would pitch a complete game shutout for FIU, striking out nine in the win.

The win would also extend the Golden Panthers win streak to five in a row.

Quinnipiac 6, FIU 1

The Bobcats would score in the bottom of the second inning on a wild pitch by FIU’s pitcher Jenn Gniadek, scoring Jordan Paolucci from third base. With two outs, Christy Cabrera would single, driving in two runs to give Quinnipiac a 3-0 lead.

Gniadek would settle down, allowing no runs until the sixth inning. Bobcats starting pitcher Heather Schwartzburg would keep the Golden Panthers off balance at the plate, only surrendering two hits over the first five innings.

Arcuri would begin the top of the sixth inning with a double for FIU and a wild pitch by Schwartzburg would help advance Arcuri to third. With two outs, McClain would single to drive in Arcuri to cut Quinnipiac’s lead to 3-1.

Quinnipiac would score three runs in the bottom half of the inning to extend their lead to 6-1 and Schwartzburg would go on to pitch a complete game for the Bobcats, striking out eleven to snap the FIU win streak.

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