Conquistadors split gritty doubleheader against No. 19 St. Thomas

FNU softball player Danika Lagodzinski.
Conquistadors split gritty doubleheader against No. 19 St. Thomas. (April 23, 2024)

(Box Score) (Box Score 2)

WESTON, Fla. (April 23, 2024) – Florida National’s softball team (20-19) rallied for a huge victory over the NAIA’s No. 19-ranked St. Thomas University Bobcats (34-8). In a split afternoon at Vista Park, the Conquistadors survived a late Bobcat surge for a 6-4 win in game one before falling in extra innings 12-8 in game two. FNU posted 20 hits over both contests as STU had 15 in game two.

In the opener, Emma Edwards got FNU on the board with a base hit to STU’s shortstop, running in Janessa Esquibel. A costly error from pitcher Jasmin Fontela in the bottom of the second scored Tara McCaffery and lefty runner Sabrina Castelli. Castelli connected shortly after on an RBI triple to score first baseman Madison Chiudina. 

Despite holding a 3-0 lead, STU’s bats got hot with the Bobcats blasting home runs in the next two innings to make it a one-score game. Pitcher Anna Toon was the first player in navy and red to launch a homer in the fourth parallel to the right field line. Bianca Palacios kept it rolling with a two-run bomb to left field. FNU weathered this offensive storm, thanks in part to a run from pinch runner Alexis Lendo, and an RBI single from pinch hitter Thanysha Gil. 

STU’s Destiny Falquez did post a solo homer in the sixth but Florida National did just enough to end the game on top.

In game two, the Bobcats took a 3-0 lead after the first inning thanks to a run from pinch runner Yarializ Maldonado and another stunning home run from the inevitable Falquez. FNU wouldn’t score until the bottom of the fourth, after Castelli ran in a score and Yleisha Perez recorded a two-RBI double to tie the game.

The Bobcats had an answer to this FNU run, reaching into their bag of tricks for a home run courtesy of Toon and scoring Palacios on a single from Natalie Kopicova. In the fifth, 

Ciara Santiago scored thanks to a dropped fly ball in left field and STU gave themselves a 6-4 lead at the top of the sixth on a solo home run to center field by Jade Fayad

Pitcher Sophia White ended up pushing the game to an eighth inning on a two-RBI double in the sixth to score Gabi Obando and Esquibel. STU ended up stealing the game in the top of the eighth with six runs to take a 12-6 lead. FNU did manage two more runs in the bottom of the frame but ended the game on a swinging strikeout by McCaffery.

Up Next: FNU’s regular season finale will be April 25 versus the University of Fort Lauderdale. The first pitch from Vista Park is set to be thrown at noon. 

Continental Athletic Conference (CAC) logo.