FIU Softball Has Tough Loss During A Rainy Weekend

Senior shortstop Jessica Rivera was a key contributor with two RBIs. Photo Courtesy of FIU Athletics

Alex Rivera/Staff Writer

After a rain delay that led to the cancellation of the Panthers’ game against Michigan State, the Panthers took the field for the second time this season against Penn State. The game was close throughout the night, but in the seventh inning, the umpire started making horrific calls.

With two outs in the bottom of the first, the game saw the first scores come in as Jocelyn Alonso brought in Alexis Johns. The inning would end with a soft hit from Melissa Gallegos, with a catch and a step on the bag at second base.

At the top of the top of the second, pitcher Kendahl Dunford would see Penn State get a hit off her third pitch of the inning., Afterwards was able to get two outs within five pitches. Dunford struggled facing two lefties who were able to get hits, the Leanne Matthews bringing the run in. 

Going into the third tied 1-1, Penn State was able to bring in their second run, when Kaitlyn Morrison was able to get a walk and was brought in by lefty Kennedy Legg to take the lead. This would the last time a left-handed hitter gave Dunford issues.

FIU answered in the bottom of the third with a collective effort by the Panthers to bring in Tori Jones, tying the game for the second time of the night. Jocelyn Alonso gets a hit, leaving the bases loaded with two outs. Ultimately it fell on Vanessa Gallegos to make what she could of the situation, but with PSU changing pitchers, Gallegos hit a short line drive that was caught for the third out. 

Over the course of the next three innings, the game remained tied 2-2. In the top of the fourth, Dunford was able to end the entire inning with eight pitches,  and PSU pitcher Kylee Lingenfelter was able to close out the fourth in nine pitches. 

It was in the top of the seventh inning that the game fell through for the Panthers. The inning started with Dunford allowing Penn State to load the bases, it was then when the decision was made for Dunford to be relieved by Allison Muraskin. Mursakin would allow a hit to centerfield, bringing in a run, the score now 3-2.

Muraskin would walk Legg, followed by Michelle Leon getting a hit to bring in pinch runner Claire Swedberg. The score now 4-2.

With the game at the top of the seventh with two outs, the umpire started making questionable calls. Penn State would put in pinch runner Kathryn Rex, who’ll get a walk after the umpire made two called balls that were strikes. 

The crowd voiced their displeasure, badgering the umpire. Coach Steiner-Wilcoxson visibly upset as well calling out the umpire. 

With the next at bat, the umpire made another two called balls that would have been called strikes earlier in the game. Muraskin and catcher AnnMarie Cooker were both surprised with the calls. 

When the top of the inning ended, the Panthers started to climb back, with lead off batter Kayla Whitehead and Cooker getting hits. Both would be replaced by pinch runners. Madison Lewis and Madison Mendez would both draw outs. 

Kallie Jones was brought in as a pinch runner with one out left in the game, and runners at first and second. Jones was dealt more than three calls by the umpire that went against her favor. Ultimately, the game would end with a strike, and the Panthers lose their first game of the season.

The Panthers will play their last game in the Felsberg Invitational Saturday February 8th against the Syracuse Orange at 3pm. 

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