Panthers finish tournament with winning streak

Santiago Archieri/ Staff Writer

The softball team improved to 8-2 for the season after dropping just one game on the weekend. The Panthers went 4-1 overall, winning two straight to end the weekend strong.

The Panther invitational featured four teams and had the attention of Felsberg field during this past weekend. On Friday, Feb. 19, FIU started the tournament off with Abby Summers on the mound against Holy Cross.

FIU took an early lead in the first inning at 1-0, and wouldn’t look back for the rest of the game. The final lopsided score of the first contest was 7-0, as FIU won with ease.

Summers went on to pitch six scoreless innings, picking up her second win of the season (2-0). Summers also became the first pitcher for FIU softball to pick up her second win of the season. Meanwhile in the offense side, the bats stayed clanging. The Panthers scuffled 14 hits off Holy Cross, with Ashley Belans shone with three hits in three at-bats.

The Panthers had very little time to rest, as the sun set and the night time matchup against Indiana was up next to cap the double header with a sweep.

Corrine Jenkins started the game for FIU against Indiana, but it was Hunter Scharf whom would ultimately pick up the 5-2 win for the Panthers.

The Hoosiers picked up the early lead in the first after sloppy play from FIU. A hit, walk, wild pitch and a hit batter gave the Hoosiers an early 1-0 lead. Catcher Aleima Lopez tied it with a homerun in the second inning, the first of her career.

Indiana was able to pick up a 2-1 lead in the third and hold it onto the bottom of the fifth. The bases got loaded after a Stephanie Texeira walk, and the ensuing wild pitch moved all runners up, and brought the game-tying run to home plate. Gabby Spallone then cleared the bases with a double to put the Panthers up for good. Hunter Scharf picked up the win for the Panthers, allowing just one hit in as the relief for Jenkins, and pitched 3.2 innings. The victory extended the Panthers winning streak to six games.

The winning streak would soon come to an end, as the next day featured the Panthers only loss of the weekend. A two run homerun by Delaware’s Anna Steinmetz would define the first game of the day, as Delaware went on to win a close one with a final score of 5-4.

Corinne Jenkins started the game again, but it was Scharf who pitched three innings and came in as the relief, picking up her first loss of the season (1-1).

FIU had the advantage until the fifth inning, as Delaware took the lead back 5-4. FIU wasn’t able to get a hit in the final two innings of play. The Panthers also left ten runners on base. The win improved Delaware to 2-2 for the weekend, while it halted the Panthers six game winning streak and dropped them to 6-2 overall.

FIU bounced right back in the second game of the day, cruising to a 9-1 win behind the pitching display put on by Rachel Dwyer. Dwyer improved to 2-0 for the season with the win, a game in which she threw four innings, allowing only three runs and giving up two walks.

Belans stole the show on the batting side for the night, blasting her first two home runs of her collegiate career. She went on to finish the game with 5 RBI and 3 hits, all in 3 at-bats.

The Panthers controlled the game from the instance it started. FIU scored 8 runs in the first two innings, including all 9 starters going up to bat in the first inning. The win put the Panthers back in the winner’s column, improving them to 7-2.

The stage was set for an FIU-Delaware rematch on Sunday, Feb. 21, afternoon to close the tournament for FIU. The Panther picked up the 3-2 victory, while Summers picked up another win, pitching 6.1 innings and allowing one earned run. Scharf got her second save of the season after a strikeout and flyout to end the game.

Neither team let down heading into the sixth inning. Junior Dani Mowry then hit a one run shot out of Felsberg field to give FIU the lead and the win. It was Mowry’s first homerun of the year and she became the fifth different FIU player to knock one out of their home field.

The win not only secured some revenge for their only loss of the weekend, but it also improved the Panthers to an 8-2 overall record, a phenomenal ten game start. FIU is hot both on the mound and with the bats, and they look to carry this momentum against Central Connecticut State, who comes to South Florida for a one game night Thursday, Feb. 25.

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