Late-game heroics deliver softball’s first win at SCWS

FNU pitcher Jona Goolsby.
FNU pitcher Jona Goolsby.

(Box Score

DuBois, Pa. (May 15, 2023) – Game one of Florida National University’s stay at the USCAA Small College World Series was a thriller from start to finish, culminating in a 13-12 Conquistador win in eight innings against the Mississippi University for Women Owls. FNU rallied from a 10-7 deficit at the top of the seventh, ending the game with 18 hits and two errors. The Owls racked in 15 hits with no errors recorded.

The Owls got on the board first with a sacrifice fly from Rylie Grisham. This lead was short-lived however, as FNU’s Ana De Oliveira Obando connected on her sac fly that ran in Yleisha Perez. An RBI single from Kaylee Pitman gave FNU the one-run lead after Tara McCaffery made it home for the score before the end of the second. 

McCaffery made another trip around the bags for an FNU run in the fourth thanks to a double from first baseman Jordan Bohn. A two-RBI triple from Sabrina Castelli to right centerfield was just enough to bring in pinch-runner Sydni Bigelli and Bohn. Castelli would make it a four-run inning for the Conquistadors as she made her way to home after Perez was grounded out to end frame.

With a 6-1 lead, the Owls rose to the challenge putting together a three-run, two-hit fifth inning. McCaffery’s brilliance continued in the fifth with a much-needed RBI single to right field. But a 7-4 Conquistador advantage was quickly erased with six runs from the Owls for a dangerous 10-7 lead heading to the bottom of the seventh. 

Facing an early upset, Castelli delivered with a double to left field that scored Pitman and pinch runner Hayley Zimmerman to cut the Owl lead to one. A Megen Johnson single bought just enough time for Perez to slide into home, sending the game into extra innings. 

The Owls continued to connect from the batter’s box, collecting two more runs before retiring the side. In the eighth, a McCaffery RBI single and score tied up the contest at 12 a piece. On just her second hit of the evening, Perez singled through the left side for a walk-off run from Bohn to keep FNU at the top of the winners’ bracket in Dubois, Pa.

Pitcher Jona Goolsby was in the circle for all eight innings of the contest, delivering a strikeout and issuing five walks. 

Up Next: FNU’s journey at the USCAA Small College World Series continues tomorrow versus the Salem Tigers at 2 p.m.

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