FIU Softball Swept at FAU Invitational in Boca

FIU shortstop Jessica Rivera collected six hits during the FAU Invitational. Photo by FIU Athletics.

Liam Rooney / Staff Writer

The FIU Softball team had a weekend to forget at the FAU Invitational in Boca Raton. The panthers got swept in three straight games from Friday, March 5th to Saturday, March 6th.  

FIU fell to the Illinois State Redbirds 3-2 on Friday, followed by a 4-1 loss against the Pittsburgh Panthers later that same day. On Saturday, FIU rematched Illinois State but fell in another 9-3 loss.

The Panthers were scheduled to also play the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers at 3p.m. on Saturday, but the game was ultimately cancelled due to inclement weather in the area.

FIU now sits at a 5-10 overall record this season, and has yet to compete with a Conference USA opponent. Currently, the Panthers have the second-worst record out of the six teams in the Eastern Division. 

In game one, the Panthers were down by an early run in the first inning by Illinois State. The Redbirds would maintain the lead until the fourth inning. FIU got on the board off a sacrifice fly ball by Panthers third baseman Tori Jones, scoring pitcher Cassidy Crump. Crump took the opportunity to tag up and score on the sacrifice fly, tying the game at one each.

In the fifth inning, FIU outfielder Madison Lewis doubled and drove in second baseman Jocelyn Alosno, giving the Panthers a 2-1 lead. The Redbirds would respond in the sixth inning, tying the game at two each.

Despite pitcher Brooklynn Linneman’s game-high four strikeouts, the Panthers gave up a walkoff home run in the bottom of the seventh inning to the Redbirds, giving them the 3-2 win. 

Game two saw a battle of the Panthers as FIU took on Pitt. FIU scored off a single by left fielder Gabby Ruiz in the second inning. Thanks to a solid defensive showing, they maintained the lead all the way until the top of the fifth.

FIU Pitcher Kendahl Dunford had only allowed Pitt to earn a single hit, and struck out two batters. However, a late offensive flurry from Pitt saw them score twice in the fifth, once in the sixth, and once more in the seventh, snatching a 4-1 lead and handing FIU their second loss of the day. 

Saturday’s rematch against Illinois State was an offensive show for both teams. In the top of the first, shortstop Jessica Rivera hit a home run, giving the Panthers an early 1-0 lead. However, that would be the only lead FIU would have, as the Redbirds scored seven runs in the bottom of the first. 

In the third inning, Rivera collected a single that scored two more runs, narrowing the Redbirds lead to 7-3. Illinois State answered with two runs in the bottom half of the inning, pushing the score to 9-3. The rest of the game would be a stalemate, and FIU lost again to Illinois State.

Next up for the Panthers is a trip to Orlando to take on the Central Florida Knights on Thursday, March 11th at 6pm. FIU will then head home for a tripleheader against the South Dakota Coyotes, with the first two games on Saturday, March 13th at 1pm and 3pm, followed by the game three on Sunday, March 14th at 11am. 

About the Author

Richard Gibson
Former Sports Director of PantherNOW

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