Panthers split matchup against Illinois and UAB

Megan Home (left) takes a swing during FIU's doubleheader against Louisville and UMass Feb 11

By: Anthony Guivas / Staff Writer

Megan Home (left) takes a swing during FIU's doubleheader against Louisville and UMass Feb 11

On the final day of the COMBAT Classic, the Panthers were looking for their first win of the year and they found it as they beat Illinois with a lofty 8-0 score.

Mariah Dawson, who pitched just the day before, started again on Sunday. But unlike her first start of the year, she didn’t have her best stuff. Dawson battled through and kept Illinois off the board the entire day.

While the score may show a dominant offensive showing, that was not the case in the start of the game. FIU was not able to record a hit for the first three innings.

That all changed in the fourth inning.

With two outs in the fourth, Jessy Alfonso reached base on a fielder’s choice and it was then followed up with an Erika Arcuri single and an Ashley McClain walk.  With the bases loaded and centerfielder Beth Peller at the plate, Illinois pitcher Jackie Guy walked Peller, giving FIU an initial 1-0 lead.

The bases were still loaded when second baseman Brie Rojas cashed in with a bases-clearing double, enhancing FIU’s lead to 4-0.

Illinois threatened in the sixth, but it was due more to Dawson’s command on the mound than with their bats.

In that sixth inning, Dawson got two quick outs but then she walked two batters, following that up by accidentally hitting Jami Schkade with a pitch. With two out and the bases juiced, Dawson was able to regain her composure and have Stephanie Cuevas ground out to end the inning.

Finally, in the bottom of the sixth inning, FIU struck the decisive blow when Arcuri singled and was driven in by a McClain double. That double was then followed by a Peller single and fittingly concluded with a Brie Rojas three-run homer, giving FIU an 8-0 lead and exercising the mercy rule.

Dawson completed her second career shutout, allowing four hits in six innings pitched to get the win.


UAB 6, FIU 4


FIU had another game 15 minutes later against UAB in which they lost 6-4, dropping their record to 1-4 on year and concluding the COMBAT Classic.  Jenn Gniadek (0-2) only pitched one and a third inning allowing two hits and four walks and four runs (two unearned) in the loss.




Louisville, who defeated FIU 4-2 on Feb. 11, went home as winners of the COMBAT Classic. The Cardinals, who are now ranked 24th in the nation, went undefeated in the tournament, winning all five games.




The Panthers will now look toward this upcoming Friday when they take on the University of Illinois at Chicago (2-3) at 5 p.m. and then a nightcap against Providence (0-0) at a 7 p.m. start time.

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