FNU drops hard-fought elimination game to STU

FNU outfielder Alexis Lendo cheering.
FNU drops hard-fought elimination game to STU, 6-5. (May 14, 2024)

(Box Score) 

KLAMATH FALLS, Oreg. (May 14, 2024) – Florida National University’s softball team (23-24) posted five runs in the seventh inning before falling short of an upset against the RV St. Thomas University Bobcats (39-11) in the Opening Round of the NAIA National Tournament.. The Conquistadors’ 6-5 loss to the Bobcats eliminated them from postseason contention and marked the fourth time the Cats have handed FNU a loss in 2024.

STU ended the game with 11 hits and one error while FNU followed closely behind with nine hits and two errors.

Bianca Palacios got the Bobcats on the board first with an RBI single to right center that brought in Natalie Kopicova. An RBI fielder’s choice on Gabriella Gilbert eventually ran in Palacios for an unearned run, as the Cats jumped to a 2-0 lead to end the bottom of the first. Gilbert kept her bat hot with a one-score double in the third and an RBI single from Destiny Falquez made it a 4-0 affair in the frame.

The fourth was another offensive explosion for STU. Right fielder Mya Achenbach and Palacios both scored runs thanks to a double from Ana Toon and an RBI groundout on Gilbert. Despite facing a 6-0 deficit, FNU battled in the seventh in an effort to keep their season alive.

FNU’s five-score run began with a score from Ciara Santiago after an error from Alahnis Berrios. Alyssa Songer was the next Conquistador to make the trip to home plate on a fielder’s choice that put Yleisha Perez on first. With the score standing at 6-2, FNU senior outfielder Ana De Oliveira Obando joined the run party with a shocking three-RBI home run to make it a one-score game. 

This stunning homer triggered a pitching change that sent Toon to the mound for STU in an attempt to stop the bleeding. Toon started a bit shaky, walking Thanysha Gil placing the tying run on first. Sydni Bigelli did her part by advancing Gil to second on the next FNU at bat with a textbook bunt. After getting its first out of the inning on Bigelli, STU closed out the game on a strikeout by lefty Sabrina Castelli and an unfortunate line out to first base by Tara McCaffery. 

With the win, the Bobcats move on to face Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (Ariz.) Eagles tomorrow at 7:30 p.m.

Continental Athletic Conference (CAC) logo.