Softball battles adversity for first trip to NAIA Nationals

FNU pitcher Sophia White.
Softball battles adversity for first trip to NAIA Nationals. (May 3, 2024)

(Box Score

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. (May 3, 2024) – An offensive explosion in the bottom of the fourth against Crowley’s Ridge College (22-17) punched Florida National University’s softball team (23-21) a ticket to the 2024 Continental Athletic Conference (CAC) Softball Championship Game on May 4. Florida National faced a four hour rain delay that pushed their game against the Pioneers to a 9:15 p.m. start time in Lawrenceville, Ga., Friday. CRC moved on to game five of the tournament after outlasting Talladega College 10-9 in game four. 

FNU picked up right where they left off against the Pioneers the last time these teams squared off, taking a 4-0 lead in the third inning. The Pioneers committed two errors in the frame which allowed center fielder Alyssa Songer and Thanysha Gil to advance safely to home plate. Second baseman Yleisha Perez also recorded a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring lead off hitter Janessa Esquibel. 

The Pioneers went to work to try and cut the deficit, but were only able to score one run in the fourth thanks to an RBI base hit from Hannah Burk. Pitcher Sophia White was magnificent from the circle in her second game of the day. The freshman righty posted five strikeouts, walked no batters and allowed three hits. 

White was even more impressive in the batter’s box, ending the evening 4-for-4 and with two RBIs. The Conquistadors blew the game open in the bottom of the fourth. FNU tallied 12 runs in the frame and the Pioneers could not get out of their own way with four errors in the inning. The Conquistadors collected 10 hits in the inning, including two-RBI doubles from White and Gabi Obando. 

Shortstop Tara McCaffery, Sabrina Castelli and Obando both notched RBI singles in the fourth while first baseman Madison Chiudina blasted a near homer for a two-base hit to left center. CRC was finally able to end the inning, but three quick outs in the fifth signaled a run-rule victory for the Conquistadors. 

Up Next: The Conquistadors seek two upset wins over No. 13 Georgia Gwinnett starting tomorrow at 11 a.m. for a chance to be crowned CAC champions. 

Continental Athletic Conference (CAC) logo.