Softball sweeps North Alabama in three-game series
By Jordyn Matez
The FGCU softball team defeated the University of North Alabama on its home field in all three games played this past weekend, marking the second conference sweep this season for the Eagles.
The weekend began with a double-header on Saturday, where the Eagles defeated the Lions 9-0 and 1-0. The final game was played the next afternoon, where FGCU narrowly swept the conference with a 3-2 win.
The first game began on a low note for the Eagles as they allowed the Lions to take an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. The score remained the same and FGCU was held to just one hit throughout four innings until the top of the fifth, where they saw a four-run inning.
The momentum began with a walk from McKenna Batterton, followed by a single from Kate Kelly.
A fielder’s choice would allow the pair to advance and give Racquel Fournet a chance to bring the players home with a one-out double to left.
Mikenzie Vaughn’s line drive to center would then bring two more batters home to close out an eventful inning.
Building off the momentum of a successful inning, the Eagles racked up five more runs by the end of the game and ended all chances of a comeback from the Lions.
Senior pitcher Riley Randolph saw her 100th career start while pitching three innings to allow four hits in a run. She was relieved by ASUN Pitcher of the Week Marissa Mesiemore, who tossed the final four innings and allowed no runs and just three hits.
The second game of the day was much less eventful offensively than the first, with the only run of the game coming in the top of the sixth, where Farley Callaghan saw her first hit of the season — a solo, game-winning home run.
Mesiemore started the second game and pitched 5.1 innings before being relieved by Randolph for .2 innings, then was re-inserted back in to finish the bottom of the seventh.
“It’s great to win the series on day one,” said head coach David Deiros following Saturday’s wins.”Our team was tough and resilient but nobody was more than Marissa [Mesiemore]. Her performance today was outstanding.”
Sunday’s closing game was just as close as the second, though a bit more offense-heavy.
The first run of the game went to FGCU in the top of the second with yet another home run from Callaghan, this time bringing in two runs to give the Birds a 2-0 advantage.
The score would remain the same throughout two more innings until the Lions climbed back in the bottom of the fourth, tying up the score at 2-2.
Callaghan once again brought the pressure when it mattered, leading off the top of the sixth with a double to left-center. Callaghan was replaced by pinch-runner Ashley Hayes, who was brought home after stealing third on a throwing error.
UNA was unable to account for its error and eventually surrendered the game and the series to FGCU.
Mesiemore pitched her first full game of the weekend on the mound to clinch a series sweep, recording five strikeouts and two walks. Her two runs were unearned. With this win, she moves to 7-4 overall for the Eagles.
“Farley [Callaghan] had another great day at the plate and Marissa [Mesiemore] battled all day long,” said Deiros following Sunday’s game. “Our defense was solid all weekend and we made a few great plays to end rallies. It sure makes the travel home much smoother.”