Softball defeats No. 22 Fire in split afternoon

Softball defeats No. 22 Fire in split afternoon graphic.
Softball defeats No. 22 Fire in split afternoon. (Feb. 16, 2024)

(Box Score) (Box Score 2)

LAKELAND, Fla. (Feb. 16, 2024) – Florida National University’s softball team (5-4) pulled off a massive 4-2 win over the NAIA’s No.22-ranked Southeastern University Fire (6-2). The victory eclipsed a close 7-5 loss to the New College of Florida Banyans (2-13) earlier in FNU’s afternoon in Lakeland, Fla. This is the sixth victory for the Conquistadors against the Fire, ending a four-game win streak for SEU. 

In game one, NCF delivered a brilliant 7-5 win over the Conquistadors, breaking the game open in the third with six runs and four hits. FNU jumped to a 2-0 lead in the first thanks to Yleisha Perez scoring on a wild pitch. Sabrina Castelli doubled the lead with a single to SEU’s shortstop that pushed Gabi Obando safely to home plate before the end of the frame. In the third, the Banyans posted three RBI singles to right field and used a dropped fly ball to left to post five runs in the frame. An RBI sacrifice bunt from Kira McDonough also contributed to NCF’s impressive 6-2 lead before FNU retired the frame. 

NCF’s Tiffany Lepic hit a single to center field that allowed Cheyenne Waddel to slide into home for the seventh Banyan score of the afternoon. FNU got back into a rhythm in the batter’s box, with runs scored from Janessa Esquibel, Obando and Madison Sanchez to make it a 7-5 affair before the end of the fifth. NCF did just enough to keep FNU off the board, holding them to zero hits through the final two innings.

FNU ended the game with seven hits and an error, while NCF posted eight hits and two errors. 

In game two versus SEU, the Fire scored on some great field play after Nicole Wasserstrom scored as FNU successfully picked off Mallory Watts at first in the third inning. FNU tied up the game on a sacrifice fly from Sophia White that scored Esquibel and advanced Obando to third. After a scoreless fifth frame, Esquibel picked the perfect time to bomb the eventual game-winning three-RBI homer to right that scored Perez and Alexis Lendo

The Fire made it a 4-2 game in the bottom of the sixth on an RBI double courtesy of Leah Gonzalez but were held scoreless in the seventh.  FNU picked up two outs on flyouts to left field and ended the game on a ground out from the third baseman. 

SEU won the hits battle with eight to the Conquistador’s five and each team committed no errors. 

Up Next: Florida National begins an eight-game week with a President’s Day doubleheader versus UFTL at 2 p.m. 

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