Alex Rivera/Staff Writer
FIU Softball got their fifth consecutive win Saturday against the Samford Bulldogs, another game started over an hour behind schedule and with a dip in the temperature in a game that went into extra innings.
The first four innings were stagnant, with no side able to bring in a run. The bottom of the second saw the Panthers get close to scoring when Vanessa Gallegos and Britanny Phillips were able to get on base with two outs, but the inning would come to an end with AnnMarie Cooker’s swinging strike out. At the top of the third, with a swinging strike lead to a steal for second, Cooker would make the throw to second to get the out. The third base umpire called safe in favor for the Bulldogs, which was too close to call.
The bottom of the fifth appeared to be quick, with the first two FIU players getting outs. After seven pitches, Tori Jones was able to get a hit over the middle of the infield, getting on base. Back to the top of the lineup, Alexis Johns would make a successful bunt that got her to first and allowing Jones to advance to third. With runners on the corners, Alexis Ross would bunt, and the Samford players hesitated for too long as to where to make the throw. In that hesitation, Jones made the run home, Johns got to third and Ross made it to second. The inning would end with a hit in the middle infield from Jessica Rivera, where she was caught before getting to first.
The lead did not last long, the Bulldogs were able to get their first two batters on base before Timberlyn Shurbutt was able to get a hit to center field. The ball would be relayed to Cooker, where Amanda Briskin would dive to make it home. Cooker made contact with the ball in time, but ultimately dropped the ball, allowing the run.
The inning continued for pitcher Allison Muraskin, where she would have to face four more batters. In this time, the bases would be loaded and Maddie Dorsettt would be up with two outs. She would battle with Muraskin, seven pitches and fouling three of them. Ultimately, she would make good contact, but a leaping catch from Jones would end the inning.
At the top of seventh inning, the Panthers were almost scored on, as the Bulldogs were able to get runner in scoring position. In the bottom of the seventh, Samford would put in a left-handed pitcher, and coach Steiner would put in her first pinch hitter of the game, Natane Castaneda. In her first appearance of the season, Castaneda would draw a walk. The inning would be scoreless, with Madison Mendez being thrown out at first.
In extra innings, Muraskin would face a bases-loaded situation, with a player on second and Ryan Brzozoski getting a walk, and O’Neil Roberson getting hit by pitch. Muraskin would get out of the inning with a called strike against Grace Dabbs.
At the bottom of the eight, with Ross starting the inning at second, Rivera would make a bunt that got her to first and advancing Ross to third. Jocelyn Alonso, who had been hitless throughout the night, would swing on her second pitch to right, bringing in the game-winning run.
The Panthers won a game that could have gone either way, with both sides being able to get runners in scoring position, but for one reason or another, were not able to capitalize. The Panthers win 2-1, their third win of the Panther Invitational and their eight wins of the season.