The FIU softball team (27-16, 9-5 C-USA) continues their Conference USA success, with another series win against the University of Texas at San Antonio (20-23, 7-8 C-USA).
The panther have been on a roll of late winning seven of their last 10 conference games. FIU was able to win their third consecutive C-USA series by defeating UTSA in the first two games of the series, before coming up short in the final game.
Sophomore Corinne Jenkins (14-7) would get the nod in game one of the series. Jenkins would be on her game, pitching a complete game shutout, giving up just five hits, and striking out seven Roadrunners. Her fourth shutout of the season gave Jenkins win number 14 on the season, a new career high.
The Panther bats would give Jenkins all the run support she needed in the bottom half of the first inning.
UTSA freshman pitcher Nicole Merrill, who has allowed the third most walks in C-USA, walked three Panthers to load the bases with two outs. Sophomore Aleima Lopez was able to knock two run in with a single, to give FIU a 2-0 lead.
FIU would score three more runs throughout the game, giving them a commanding 5-0 victory over the Roadrunners.
Game two of the doubleheader saw junior Shelby Graves (12-6) take to the pitcher circle. Graves would allow two earned runs, on six hits, while striking out six, in five innings of work.
Jenkins would close out the final two innings, allowing one unearned run, on one hit. Jenkins would pick up her team leading and career high fourth save of the season.
The Panther’s offense was led by freshman Gabby Spallone, who went 2-3 with two doubles and three RBI.
FIU was once again able to draw first blood in this game, scoring three runs in the home half of the first, two of which came off a Spallone double. The Panthers are nearly unbeatable when they score first, 20-3 to be exact.
This game would be no different as FIU was able to hold on to a 4-3 victory.
The Roadrunners, who came in to the series leading the conference and eighth in the nation in home runs, were held to just three runs and one homerun in their first two games.
However, they would erupt for three home runs and eight runs in the final game of the series.
“We just didn’t hit our spots,” Head Coach Jake Schumann said. “They made their adjustment and we left some balls really fat and when you’re a team that leads the nation in home runs that’s what happens. We’re still happy to get the series win, even though we felt we should get a sweep out of this. Twelve hits today that encouraging for our offense and well just get back to work on Tuesday and get up to Marshall and try to take the road series.”
Jenkins would once again get the start in game three. She would only pitch one inning, giving up four runs, on three hits.
Graves would finish the game going six innings, giving up four runs, on six hits.
This game got ugly quick for FIU. In the first inning Jenkins gave up two doubles and a homerun in the first inning to put the Panthers down 3-0.
FIU does not fare well when they’re down in a ball game, they’re 7-13 when the opponent scores first.
UTSA would extend the lead to 8-1, but FIU would rally back to make it a three run game going into the bottom of the seventh inning.
“I was really happy with our effort today.” Schumann said. “When we were down 8-1, 8-2, and we make it 8-5 and we load the bases up in the seventh inning and we get a leadoff double in the sixth I thought that’s showing some guts, that’s showing a team that’s not going to give up. Our hitters can’t really control whether the ball goes over the fence, all they can control is their approach at the plate.”
Junior Krystal Garcia got the seventh inning started with a bunt single. Lopez would then fly out. Senior Rachel Slowik singled to give FIU runners on the corners.
Next up was freshman Marissa McGregor who reached on an error to load the bases with just one out.
Up to bat was senior Bre Kaye who struck out swinging. With two outs and the tying run at first came junior Rebekah Sanchez, but she too would strike out swinging.
The Panthers are back in action this Friday as they take on conference opponent, Marshall University (17-26, 6-9 C-USA) for a three game series in West Virginia.