FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla – The University of Tampa softball team continued their SSC schedule as they traveled to Fort Lauderdale to take on the Nova Southeastern University Sharks on Friday evening. In a pitcher's duel, the Spartans came out on top 2-1.
With the victory, UT now has a 6-6 record on the season and brings their conference record to 3-4. Nova in the meantime falls to 3-13 overall and is winless in SSC play at 0-7.
Senior Alyssa Bache (4-4) started the game for Tampa and was in control for the 6.2 innings that she was in the circle. Bache did not allow a hit until the bottom of the 7th inning. Exiting the game with two outs, the pitcher finished her night with 12 strikeouts, two hits, four walks, and just one run. Freshman Makaleigh Dooley came in relief to finish the game as she pitched for the final out of the game on a strikeout of Nova's Dakota Villella to earn the save.
Opposite Bache and starting for the Sharks was junior Dajia Jones (2-6). The pitcher kept the Spartans off the board for six innings. While she only allowed two hits for the game and was credited with giving up the two runs, she only managed three strikes to seven walks.
The Tampa offense was held in check by the Sharks defense for six innings as they left eight runners on base during the game. It took until the final inning of the game for UT to finally catch that spark that would bring them the win. Catcher Erica Matich came to the plate with one out and no one on base. She manage to make contact with a pitch that made it all the way to the outfield wall and allowed her to make it safely to third. Sophomore Taylor Szostak then came in as a pinch hitter and drew a walk and later stole second off a wild pitch. Shortstop Sahrina Cortes would put the first run on the board as she grounded out to the shortstop, allowing Matich to make it home safely. With Szostak at third, freshman Cristina Clauberg and junior Bre Setree manage to draw back to back walks from Jones. The run that ended up being the difference would be scored on the next batter off yet another wild pitch with Szostak coming in to score.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Sharks made their run to try to extend the game. The first two batters for Nova would make their way on base by a walk and hit by pitch respectively given up by Bache. After that, the senior pitcher locked in and got two consecutive strike outs off swings and missed. Rachel Minier loaded the bases for NSU off a single that brought a change of pitcher for UT. Despite coming in to a bases loaded situation with the game on the line, pitcher Makaleigh Dooley only allowed one run off a wild pitch before striking out the next batter she faced.
UT and NSU will continue the series tomorrow afternoon in a Saturday doubleheader. The first game is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.
Live stats for the game will be made available through www.tampaspartans.com as well as the new UT Spartans Front Row app, available on both the Apple App Store and through Google Play.
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