Panthers fall to FAU, UCF in four straight games

Freshman Brooke McNichols on the field for the Panthers. Photo courtesy of FIU Athletics.

Richelieu Valery | Staff Writer 

The Panthers got a taste of their own medicine as they failed to secure a single win against FAU in a three-game series from April 6-8 in Boca Raton, Florida. FIU then fell to UCF on Tuesday, April 11, at the UCF Softball Complex. 

FIU vs. FAU:

In the first game, it was a slow start for both teams until FAU’s sophomore Zoey Jones recorded an RBI when she grounded out to second base plating junior Cammeo Presutti after her single from her earlier at bat in the bottom of third. 

The score from FAU lit a spark for the Panthers as they scored on the very next inning. 

After sophomore Ashton Lansdell was walked, she was able to move to second after a passed ball. Lansdell was able to put FIU’s first points on the board after an RBI from junior Carmen Perez

The rest of the game remained scoreless, resulting in extra innings. 

In the 10th inning, FAU was able to end the game in fascinating style, loading the bases before junior Riley Olson sent the Panthers home with a walkoff RBI. 

Game 2 was much of the same as the first game; a low scoring affair until the fifth inning. 

Despite FIU’s freshman Brooke McNichols holding FAU to only five hits while throwing her fourth complete game of the season, her lone run was a home run shot in the bottom of the fifth by FAU’s Olson. 

The Panthers didn’t go down without a fight, having a chance at the top of the seventh to either tie or win the game when senior Madison Lewis cranked a double to center field. 

Unfortunately for her and FIU, Lewis would be left right where she was as the next two at bats were a strike out and a pop up at third base. 

The Panthers ended the game losing 1-0 to the Owls. They led in hits but couldn’t find a way to bring it home, leaving five runners on base for the game. 

Game 3 was all but the same from the first two games. 

FAU’s sophomore Gabby Sacco showed in this game why she leads Conference USA in ERAs with 1.32 earned runs. 

On her way to a shutout game, Sacco retired 14 of the 15 hitters that she faced, only allowing one hit throughout the game. 

The game was scoreless until the bottom of the second when senior Riley Ennis let off a single to center right field, bringing home Jones who reached second base by stealing after her single at bat for the only score of the game. 

FIU’s best chance to tie the game was at the bottom of seventh with two outs. 

Freshman pitcher Ella Whitney hit a double to left center, but was unfortunately left on base after the next hitter fouled out to third base. 

FAU’s pitching continued to cause trouble and the game ended as FIU fell 1-0. 

FIU vs. UCF:

The Panthers then played the UCF Knights a few days after. 

Junior Chloe Evans got the Knights going with a triple and score off an FIU error in the second inning. 

Right after, junior Shannon Doherty followed up with her sixth home run of the season to give UCF a 2-0 edge. Doherty’s home run moves her up to fourth on the UCF all-time list with 26.

The Knights then unleashed a three-run third inning to soar to a 5-0 lead. 

Evans smashed in her second triple of the day to bring home redshirt senior Jasmine Williams and freshman Aubrey Evans. Doherty followed up with a run-scoring single. 

Holding a massive lead, UCF still didn’t take its foot off the gas pedal, scoring four more runs in the fourth for good measure. 

FIU scored their only run of the night in the fifth when freshman Morgan Adams hit an RBI double to score sophomore Lindsey Burroughs. 

The team’s offensive efforts for the rest of the day fell completely flat as UCF ran away with the win, 9-1. 

Junior Sarah Willis kept the Panthers in jail, throwing four scoreless innings while only allowing three hits. 

Willis continues her dominance on the mound with a .169 batting average-against and 56 strikeouts this season.

The Panthers sit at an 18-22 overall record and are 5-10 in conference play, ranking them eighth in C-USA.

Follow Richelieu Valery on Twitter @RichelieuWrites

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