Santiago Archieri/ Staff Writer
The FIU softball team figured out the best way to bounce back from a sweep suffered at the hands of UTEP and that was with a sweep of their own this past weekend of April 2 and 3, against the North Texas Mean Green.
On Saturday, the Panthers prepared themselves for a double header in Denton, Texas, against the Mean Green.
The Panthers started to capitalize right away. After the North Texas fielder dropped a routine pop-fly, Mowry took off for home and gave FIU their first run of the game.
In the third, a Stephanie Texeira sacrifice fly bought Jackie Schoff to the plate, and the Mean Green recorded their lone run in the bottom of the third. The Panthers got a safety run in the seventh inning, extending their lead to 3-1, and ultimately winning the game by that margin.
Corrine Jenkins (5-5) got a season high nine strikeouts for the game, while pitching a complete game and only allowing three hits. The Panthers three runs came in nine hits for the game, leaving eight runners on.
Nothing changed for either team in the nightcap of the double-header. The Panthers recorded nine more hits, while the Mean Green only had two for the game and FIU cruised on to a 6-0 win.
Gabby Spallone had an RBI double in the first to drive in Ashley Leon, putting up the first runs of the game.
In the third, some North Texas errors would add to the FIU lead. Dominique Grossman got a single, but she made her way to second base after a throwing error. Texeira bought her in after an RBI single. Dani Mowry and A.J Belans then had back to back RBI singles of their own, putting the Panther lead at 4-0 as the inning came to an end.
The Panther duo of Belans and Texeira provided some souvenirs for fans over the outfield walls in the sixth and seventh inning. Belans had her fifth homerun of the season in the sixth inning and Texeira had ninth home run of the season in the seventh.
The 6-0 victory gave freshman pitcher Abby Summers (6-5) the win. Summers went 3.1 innings with two strikeouts. Megan Kugelmann pitched 3.2 innings of her own with three strikeouts.
The last game was set for Sunday as FIU looked for the sweep. It seemed as if no one wanted the sweep more than Belans, as she had a career game.
Belans had two home runs in the game, a career high four hits and six RBI’s as FIU dominated the Mean Green 12-3.
Belans recorded her first home run in the first inning, bringing in three runs. The Panthers had four runs in the first inning.
It was much of the same in the second inning. With a full count, Texeira had her tenth home run of the season, bringing in two runs. With four runs in the second, the Panthers got off to a big 8-1 lead.
In the fifth inning, the Panthers did something that hasn’t been done since 2014. Mowry knocked one out of the park, followed by Belans hitting a 2-2 pitch out of the field herself. The last time FIU hit back-to-back homeruns was on April 26, 2014, in a 7-0 win over the North Texas Mean Green.
It is the fourth time this season that a player for FIU has hit multiple home runs in a game and Belans’ third time doing so this season. The Panthers totaled six home runs in the series, a season high against any opponent.
The sweep also marks FIU’s first road sweep of a conference opponent since 2014 when they did so against Southern Miss.
Jenkins started the game but got a ND, while Summers (7-5) got the win with two hits and three strikeouts for the game. The Panthers are now at 21-17, but the more important part is gaining ground in the Conference USA standings, now moving up to a record of 7-5.
The sweep is exactly what the Panthers needed, especially with a big weekend coming up. Not only will FIU host their rivals FAU at Felsberg field, but the Owls are on a hot streak as of late. FAU is currently ranked no. 23 nationwide, and post a 30-7 overall record. They are winners of 9 of their last 11 games, and are undefeated on the road this season.
The FIU-FAU rivalry gets another chapter on Saturday, April 9 at 1 p.m., as the first game of a double header will be underway in Miami.