FORT MYERS, Fla. - No. 6 North Florida edged No. 3 and host FGCU by a 3-2 score in the first game of the 2019 ASUN Softball Championship Wednesday at the FGCU Softball Complex.
FGCU got on the scoreboard first with a run in the bottom of the fourth inning. After singling to lead off the inning and subsequently stealing second, Kate Kelly scored on a throwing error after a bunt by Haley Morrell.
The Ospreys answered right back as Rindy Bryant opened the top half of the fifth inning with a triple to right field. Bryant crossed the plate on a Megan Woodson single to left. UNF added two more runs in the top of the sixth as Dominica Cocuzza singled and scored on an error, while Tiffany Lower scored UNF's third run on FGCU's third error of the inning.
With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, McKenna Batterton doubled to center field scoring Marcella Parrado who was hit by a pitch earlier in the inning to make it a 3-2 score. With two outs and Batterton on third base, UNF brought in Morgan Blourne in to relieve Sydney Matzko and record the final out.
Both squads threatened early on but both FGCU starter Riley Randolph and UNF hurler Matzko escaped jams. North Florida's Navia Penrod, the ASUN Scholar-Athlete of the Year, and Dominica Cocuzza led off the first inning with a walk and hit by pitch, respectively. Penrod landed on third after tagging on a Lower flyout, while Cocuzza stole second. FGCU got out of the inning as Katelin Davis hit a sharp liner right at third baseman Mikenzie Vaughn, who doubled-off Penrod. In the bottom half of the inning the Ospreys got its own double play on a line out to second by Racquel Fournet. UNF's Veronika Klimplova tagged FGCU's Haley Morrell for the third out.
Five different players had a hit for North Florida with Woodson recording the lone Osprey RBI.
North Florida advances to take on No. 2 Liberty tomorrow at 10 AM ET while FGCU will face the loser of today's second game between No. 4 North Alabama and No. 5 Kennesaw State tomorrow at 3 PM ET.
No. 3 FGCU vs. No. 6 North Florida Game Notes
- The Ospreys improves to 27-22 on the year, while the Eagles drop to 28-21.
- With her one hit today, North Florida's Navia Penrod moves into a tie for fifth place on the ASUN's all-time career hits list (273).
- North Florida now holds a 2-1 edge in championship tournament history all-time vs. FGCU.
- North Florida picked up its first win over FGCU this season as the Eagles were 2-0 against the Ospreys heading into today's game.
- FGCU drops its first championship opening game since 2014, while UNF becomes the first six-seed to win its opening tournament game since 2016.
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