BOCA RATON, Fla. – The Rutgers softball team dropped a 9-1 non-conference game to Florida Atlantic University at the FAU Softball Stadium in Boca Raton, Fla., on Sunday afternoon.
Rutgers tallied six hits, to the Owls' 13, including two a piece Brittany Loisel (Gilbert, Ariz.) and Ashley Hartley (Ripon, Calif.). In her first collegiate start, freshman Elaine Piniat (Scotch Plains, N.J.) pitched three innings, allowing seven hits and three earned runs, while strikeout out two batters.
After a scoreless first inning for the Scarlet Knights, FAU's Ambar Jones led off with a triple. Mandie Fishback came up to bat and brought in Jones as the Owls took an early 1-0 lead.
Valiante walked to open the second and advanced when junior Christine Royland (Westwood, N.J.) nailed a single through the left side. Ripon then came up and ripped a shot through the right side, loading the bases for junior Shantai Dixon (Sayreville, N.J.). Dixon, however, popped out to end the inning.
In the top of the third, the Scarlet Knights tied the score, 1-1. Loisel singled to third and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from Amanda Shaw (Yorba Linda, Calif.). Senior Kristin Madoch (Glenview, Ill.) then singled up the middle as Loisel moved to third. Loisel scored when Kaitlyn Valiante (Mt. Laurel, N.J.) reached on fielder's choice and Madoch was tagged out at second.
With the Owls' Jones on third and two out, Piniat got out of a jam, forcing Amber Barton into a ground-out to keep the score even at 1-1.
Hartley singled for the second time in the game in the fourth, and after a walk from Dixon, the Scarlet Knights had runners on first and second with the top of the order coming up to bat. Loisel popped out and Barton came up with a big strike out to get out of the inning with the score still tied.
FAU's Lauren Crandall singled to open the bottom of the fourth and Amy Bukovich singled to put runners at the corners for the Owls. Senior Jess Crosby (Mill Creek, Wash.) came in at the mound for RU.
Suarez reached second on fielder's choice as two runs scored for FAU, giving the Owls a 3-1 lead with one out in the inning. Becky Brandies flew out to Amanda Shaw (Yorba Linda, Calif.) who then looked to throw the runner out at third. Shaw's throw went over Hartley's head as FAU plated another run and owned a 4-1 lead. Senior Nicole Freeman (Sandy, Utah) came in with two outs, forcing Jones to ground out and closing out the inning.
With Valiante on first, Royland hit a shot that dropped into left field, putting two on for RU. Freshman Nicole Lindley (Cicero, N.Y.) came in to pinch hit for the Scarlet Knights, but flied out to FAU's second baseman, leaving the score in favor for the Owls, 4-1.
In the bottom of the fifth, with one out and one on, Freeman tallied her lone strikeout of the game against Barton. Crandall singled, putting two on for Bukovich who drilled a triple to centerfield, driving in two more runs for FAU. Blair Bodenmiller came up next and ripped a single over shortstop Valiante's head, plating Bukovich and giving the Owls a 7-1 lead. Bodenmiller tried to steal second, but Hartley's throw to Valiante at the base was in time to end the inning.
The Owls retired RU's first three batters in the top of the sixth inning as Meghan Doonan came in to pitch relief for FAU.
Suarez led off with a double in the bottom of the sixth inning, later advancing to third on a wild pitch. With the bases loaded, Barton came to bat for the Owls, and was walked by Yard to score another run for FAU as it took a 8-1 advantage. Crandall's single to left field scored the ninth run for the Owls, as they finished the 9-1 win over RU.
The Scarlet Knights will play at Florida International University on Tuesday, March 13, in Miami, Fla. The single game is slated for 7:00 p.m.