TSU softball comes up short in TAAC title game

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 6, 2001

BOCA RATON, Fla. ­ Florida Atlantic continued its strangle hold on the Trans America Athletic Conference softball title, claiming its fifth straight title with a 1-0 win over Troy State in the 2001 championship game.

Seeded sixth, Troy State battled back from the loser’s bracket to make its second appearance in the TAAC Championship game in the past three years. In the eight years since moving to Division I, the Lady Trojans have finished either first or second in the conference in four of those seasons.

"I am really proud of our team for fighting back through the loser’s bracket," said Troy State head coach Melanie Davis. "It was a long uphill battle to get to this point, but our girls were determined to get a shot at the championship."

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The game was pitcher’s duel throughout with Kim Unkenholz shutting out Florida Atlantic for the first four innings and Nicole Myers shutting down Troy State. Through four innings, Unkenholz had allowed one hit, while Myers had yet to give up a hit.

In the top half of the fifth, the Owls (45-19) scored the only run of the game. Heather Wright reached second base on an error by first baseman Bridget McInnes as her throw to first after a bunt went wildly into right field. With Wright on third and two outs, Unkenholz’s pitch was high and got past Troy State catcher Jana Petty with Wright scoring from third for the game’s only run.

Troy State (38-23) had their chances. In the sixth, Mindy Porep lined a single into center field and was followed up by walks to Renie Mitchell and Erica Cruzat. With two outs and the bases loaded, McInnes grounded out to the first baseman, ending the Lady Trojans threat.

Unkneholz (20-10) got the loss for Troy State. She pitched six innings, sacttering three hits and one run, that was unearned. She struck out six and walked three.

Myers (25-11) shut out the Lady Trojans over seven innings allowing just one hit. She struck out seven and walked five.

Unkenholz, Porep, McInnes and Cruzat were all named to the all-tournament team. Myers was awarded the tournament most valuable player award.

"This was a tough one to lose," said Davis. "The girls played their hearts out and really wanted to win the championship. That’s our goal every year to win the championship, and it’s a shame that we came so close to winning it."