WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 2, 2024) – Florida National University’s softball team will have to wait for its first win of 2024 after dropping two games to the Palm Beach Atlantic University Sailfish on Feb. 2. The Conquistadors opened the afternoon in West Palm Beach, Fla., with a 7-2 exhibition loss to PBA and were sent home on a tough 5-3 loss in game two.
The Sailfishes’ pitching was electric and seasoned, especially junior Karen Vasquez. The Orlando native posted seven strikeouts, walked just three batters and allowed five hits through seven innings in game one. PBA got on the board in a hurry off an RBI groundout on Gracie Mullett that scored Elisa Grande. FNU answered in the third with a stellar triple from Yleisha Perez that ran in Sabrina Castelli. Moments later, Perez scored on a double from sophomore Janessa Esquibel.
FNU held a 2-1 lead before PBA blew the game open in the bottom of the third, posting six runs, three hits, and forcing an FNU error. PBA’s offensive brilliance included a double from Isabella Hernandez and Toree Hoobler. Grande continued her tear with an RBI triple before FNU’s Jona Goolsby was able to retire the side. Vasquez took over from there and FNU recorded just two hits during the rest of the contest.
In game two, PBA once again got it going in the third and jumped to a 3-0 lead. The home team racked up four hits in the frame, scoring on RBI singles from Anna Wetzsteon and Evoni Rodriguez. Before Mullett was flown out at centerfield, Hernandez was walked with the bases loaded and allowed Rodriguez to score before the end of the frame. PBA added to their lead on an RBI single from Grande to third base in the fourth and a Hoobler sacrifice bunt in the fifth.
Leading 5-0, PBA saw its chance for a clean sweep threatened by a three-run, four-hit sixth inning for the Conquistadors. Perez got things going with another triple and was eventually scored on a single from Esquibel. The bats stayed hot for FNU, as Heather Cuddy completed an RBI single down the left field line for another FNU run and a costly error from the PBA pitcher made it a 5-3 game heading into the bottom of the frame.
Despite keeping PBA off the board thanks to stellar pitching from Esquibel, FNU was unable to put together a few more runs to close out the game at the top of the seventh. Esquibel did pick up a single in the inning but a six-three groundout and two strikeouts ended FNU’s hopes of a win.
Up Next: FNU hits the road for a 1 p.m. doubleheader versus Webber International University on Feb. 4.