Georgia State can’t snap Owls’ hold on A-Sun

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 13, 2002

Florida Atlantic bounced back from losing its first Atlantic Sun Conference tournament game since 1996 to capture its sixth straight championship and the A-Sun’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament with a 4-0 win over Georgia State at the Lady Trojan Softball Complex on Saturday.

"I was a little disappointed in losing the first game," said Florida Atlantic’s Nicole Myers.

"I’m just glad that we came back and won the second game and win the tournament."

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Georgia State, who FAU defeated 2-0 on Friday, battled back out of the loser’s bracket and pulled out a 3-2 win to force a second game against the Lady Owls.

The loss ended Florida Atlantic’s 23-game winning streak in A-Sun tournament play.

Florida Atlantic (60-11) captured the title with a 4-0 win over the Lady Panthers, sparked by a three run outburst in the third inning.

Ginny Matthews came through with a two-out single to drive in pinch runner Jessica Fernandez for the first run of the game.

Tournament MVP Nicole Myers stepped up and laced a double to the gap in right center, driving in two runs to give the Lady Owls a 3-0 lead.

Myers would add another run in the fifth a solo home run to left field to give the Lady Owls a 4-0 lead.

She would come in to pitch two scoreless innings of relief to seal the title.

That would be all the run support Candice Freel would need.

FAU’s freshman pitcher shut down the Georgia State offense, scattering four hits over five innings for while striking out three for her 25th win of the season.

Lindsey French (16-11) got the loss for Georgia State.

She allowed four runs on eight hits while walking one and striking out two.

Georgia State battled past Myers in the first game, handing the senior her first ever loss in the conference tournament in a 3-2 win.

The Lady Panthers (38-27) opened the scoring with a run in the first.

Katie Blue scored on a passed ball by FAU’s catcher Callie Piper to give Georgia State the early lead.

The Lady Owls answered back with a run in the second.

Rhianna Rogers’ double to left center drove in pinch runner Melissa Ryan to tie the game.

Georgia State came back with a run in the bottom of the second. Melissa LeComte’s fly ball to right field was dropped by FAU’s Michelle Shirah, allowing Buffie Chournos to score from second and give the Lady Panthers a 2-1 lead.

The Lady Panthers tacked on another run in the fourth on Lindsay Bryant’s home run to left field to give Georgia State a 3-1 lead.

Florida Atlantic rallied with a run in the fifth.

Ninya Ybarra’s single to right field drove in Shirah from third and cut the lead to one.

FAU would only have one batter reach base in the last two innings, a single by Ginny Matthews in the seventh, but could not score another run to force the deciding game.

Lady Trojans fall to UCF, 4-3

UCF used a three-run fourth inning to rally from an early deficit and claim a 4-3 win over tournament host Troy State in an elimination game at the 2002 Atlantic Sun Championship on Friday.

"This was a tough way to end our season," said Troy State head coach Melanie Davis.

"We’ve had a great year but we just hit a slump here at the end.

I really hate for this year to end because we are losing some very talented seniors."

The Golden Knights (46-18) opened the scoring with a run in the first at the Lady Trojan Softball Complex. Dottie Cupp’s bases-loaded groundout drove in Danielle Cummings from third to give UCF the lead.

Troy State (46-20) took the lead with two runs in the second. Kami Marrott led off the inning with a single and advanced to second on a bunt. Erica Cruzat’s attempt to bunt for a hit was then fielded by UCF catcher Lindsay Bush, who threw wildly into right field. The throw rolled all the way to right field corner, allowing Marrott to score easily. Cruzat raced around the bases as well to put TSU on top, 2-1.

UCF regained the lead with its three-run rally in the fourth. Pysha Simmons singled to left field drove in Lindsey Manz, who led off the inning with a double.

Lauren Cooper then reached on an error by TSU’s Tamra Howren, allowing Simmons to reach third and Cooper to move to second.

Jania Shinhoster followed with a single off TSU reliever Cassie Wilkenson to drive in Simmons and put UCF back on top, 3-2.

UCF capped their rally with Cooper scoring on a double steal to give the Knights a 4-2 lead.

Troy State managed one final rally in the seventh.

With one out, Bonnie Belin was hit by a pitch to reach base.

Cruzat followed with a double to the gap in left center, driving in pinch-runner Erica King. She was thrown out at third on the play, however, to end the threat.

"Erica was trying to take third on the throw because she thought it was going all the way to the plate," Davis said. "UCF’s first baseman made a heads-up play to cut off the throw and get Erica in a rundown."

UCF advanced to face Georgia State in an evening game on Friday for the other spot in the championship game against Florida Atlantic. Troy State wraps up its season with the most wins since the Lady Trojans won 49 in 1999.