Panthers sweep first Conference USA matchup

Santiago Archieri/ Staff Writer

The FIU softball team got back to their winning ways with a three game sweep on the Charlotte 49ers, Saturday. March 12, and Sunday, March 13. This stretch of games came after the Panthers went 1-2 in their mid-week battles.

FIU picked up a satisfying victory Tuesday,  March 8, against East Carolina. The following day, the Panthers found themselves facing the nationally ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

The Fighting Irish came into Felsberg Field for a double header against the Panthers. In the first game of the weekend, FIU was completely annihilated with a final score of 17-8. Notre Dame capitalized off their 11 unearned runs, which came as a result of eight FIU errors for the night.

Rachel Dwyer led the pack in the first game, only allowing three hits in 3.0 innings pitched, also picking up a strikeout. However, the rest of the rotation struggled. Abby Summers took the loss, while her and Hunter Schaarf combined to award the opposition 15 runs in their combined four innings pitched.

The bright note for the Panthers came on the offensive end as they matched Notre Dame’s 15 hits with 15 of their own, and scoring eight runs against a top tier defensive powerhouse.

The Fighting Irish were able to leave Miami with two wins in one night, winning the second game of the double-header 6-3. Corrine Jenkins dropped to 2-4 with the loss, allowing 11 hits and six runs in a complete game.

FIU had no time to dwell, the weekend brought upon their first series against a Conference-USA opponent. Last season, FIU would end up with a fair overall record, but their conference woes left them out of the tournament, which was hosted in Miami.

The series started off with a doubleheader Saturday as Charlotte came into FIU in the receiving votes category of the USA Today Coaches Poll.

Jenkins pitched yet another complete game, picking up her third win of the season (3-4) in a 2-1 nail biter. She only allowed four hits and had six strikeouts in the contest. Jackie Schof led the Panther batting going 2-4 with an RBI.

Megan Kugelmann, the spectacular freshman, stole the pitching show once again on the mound in the second game of the double header. Kugelmann (5-1) tossed her fifth shutout in five starts in the 8-0 win.

She also set a new career high seven strikeouts, while allowing just two runs in the game. The Panthers used a pair of homeruns to end the game with the run-rule in the fifth inning.

Dani Mowry went 2-2 with two RBI in the game, while Erin Eiland had three RBI’s of her own. The Panther scored in each of the final three innings of the game after being held silent in the beginning of the match.

In the first day of conference play, the Panthers had a combined 10 runs on 15 hits. The Charlotte 49ers had the second lowest ERA (1.93) allowed and batting average (.200) in the league prior to their double-header.

FIU looked for a sweep on the ensuing day, as a noon matchup was prepared for the two teams. After a rough start to the season, Jenkins picked up her fourth win (4-4) as she makes her way back up to the .500 mark on her games this season. FIU improved to 17-10 (3-0 C-USA) after a 4-2 win.

Kugelmann picked up her first save of the season, and A.J Belans crushed two out of Felsberg field. It was the second time this season Belans had a game with multiple home runs, the last one being against Holy Cross in February.

The sweep for the Panthers is the first sweep that FIU picked up against a Conference USA opponent since April  2014, when they swept North Texas in three games.

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