Dolphins played their first game of the South Alabama Invitational on Friday, Feb. 20 in Mobile, Ala. against Sam Houston State, losing 10-9 in a nail-biter of a game.
The Dolphins made a tremendous comeback in the seventh inning to tie the game at nine after scoring five runs, but unfortunately allowed a walk-off home run in the ninth inning. Senior utility player Ashley Simon and junior first baseman Emily Sanchez both recorded doubles for the Dolphins. Sanchez was joined by senior infielder Lexie Ballard as the only Dolphins with home runs in the contest.
Saturday, Feb. 21 featured a double header for the Dolphins and they split the contests, winning their first game and losing their second.
In the early game, the Dolphins managed to beat Ball State 6-5 in an exciting game that featured another late rally from the Dolphins. It wasn’t until the fifth inning that the Dolphins were able to get on the board when Sanchez recorded her second home run of the tournament.
True freshman Kristen Griffith showed that she is already a key role player in her early career as she played a stellar game. With two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom half of the seventh inning, she hit a single to right bringing in the winning run as the Dolphins beat Ball State in walk-off fashion. Simon added a double and junior outfielder Victoria Brown had a triple in the contest.
The second game of the double header did not fare as well for the Dolphins. Jacksonville played Tennessee-Chattanooga and UTC was able to subdue the Dolphins’ momentum with a 7-2 victory. The Dolphins’ two runs were recorded in the fifth inning and UTC limited the Dolphins to only three hits in the ball game.
Sunday, Feb. 22 featured another double header for the Dolphins and the task of playing another two games in one day proved to be a taxing task. The Dolphins got revenge for their first loss as they dominated Sam Houston State 11-3 in the first contest, but lost another nail-biter to host team South Alabama 5-4 in their final game of the tournament.
In the first inning of the SHS contest, the Dolphins went up 3-0 and never looked back. They sent a resounding message in the second inning when they recorded eight runs and put the game securely out of reach. The Dolphins shut out the Bearkats in the final four innings.
The last game of the tournament proved to be a tough one as the Dolphins fell to South Alabama 5-4. They put up a strong fight, but their upset bid of the nationally ranked host fell short.
“We just went extra innings with a top-25 team and lost on an unearned run in the bottom of the ninth,”said Jennifer Steele, head coach. “If we continue to have similar outings, we are going to be a very tough team to play in April and May.”
JU returns home to the Pruitt Softball Complex on Feb. 27 for the Dolphin Classic