The first doubleheader scheduled for last Saturday was rained out, but Sunday’s game wasn’t so bright for the Hilltopper softball team.
The Miami weather was to Florida International’s (32-22, 8-2 Sun Belt Conference) advantage, taking two wins on their home field. The Golden Panthers proved to be tough conference contenders, allowing only one run and seven hits in the entire series.
At the top of the first in the first game, Western (26-26, 4-6 Sun Belt) loaded the bases off FIU’s Kendra Laminack, but could not bat in a runner to home plate.
“We didn’t hit the ball as well as we should’ve to win the game,” head coach Leslie Phelan said. “We had runners on base and we didn’t score in those runs.”
The Golden Panthers scored two runs in the bottom of the first when third baseman Jennifer Owens smacked one over the wall to drive home herself and shortstop Stephanie Wolter.
Wolter scored another run off Owens’s RBI single, making the game 3-0.
Western’s only hope to be on the board was from junior pitcher Allison Silver, her double batting in freshman pinch runner Jennifer Ballance.
The Golden Panthers and Hilltoppers would score no more, ending it at 3-1. Silver dropped to 14-12, her first loss in four decisions.
“We played good – they just came out on top,” Silver said. “We did give it to ’em, (but) it was just their day.”
The day would continue to go Florida International’s way.
The Golden Panthers got things started in the bottom of the first when first baseman Cynthia Turek slugged in center fielder Nicole Dubovic to make it 1-0.
Three scoreless innings passed by until the Golden Panthers would score another run, rightfielder Amber Gill’s double sparking their offense in the fifth.
On the next play pinch runner Carmen Lopez took advantage of freshman first baseman Natasha Sevco’s error and scored the second and final run, ending the game at 2-0.
Despite holding Florida International to four hits and two runs, freshman Adrienne Lathrop fell to 12-9 on the year.
“I think that we had a lot of key chances that we shoud’ve scored in, and we didn’t capitalize,” Lathrop said.
Despite being victims to Florida International’s broom, Western’s pitching still allowed only 10 hits and five runs against the conference’s second place team.
“I would like to play tme again in the tournament,” Phelan said. “I feel we’re very capable of beating them.”
Due to their loss and Middle Tennessee’s sweep against New Mexico State last Sunday, Western is now in fourth place in the conference.
Phelan would like to gel everything together in time for the tourney.
“We have to get consistent with all three parts of the game together – we can’t rely on just having tough pitching,” she said.
Western travels to Lexington, Ky., Wednesday to play their final non-conference game agaist University of Kentucky at 3 p.m.