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Owls Fall to USF in Regional Final

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Owls Fall to USF in Regional Final

May 21, 2006

GAINESVILLE, FL - Florida Atlantic University saw its season come to a close on Sunday 7-4 against the University of South Florida in the finals of the 2006 NCAA Softball Gainesville Regional.

The Owls set a team record with 12 hits in the postseason game and scored four runs or more for the first time in its last 14 postseason games. Junior Jen Musillo (Tequesta, Fla.), who threw 22 2/3 innings in four regional games, took the loss, ending the season at 12-9 while striking out eight.

FAU trailed 7-0 entering the bottom of the seventh and showed the fight that was typical of the team down the stretch, scoring four runs on four hits. Junior Shauna Corso (Seal Beach, Calif.), senior Danielle Arriaga (Miami, Fla.) and freshman Kala Guy (Hollywood, Fla.) all singled and scored in the inning.

Junior Jenna Lopez (Orangeburg, N.Y.) was hit by a pitch and eventually scored the Owls' first run of the game. Classmate Mandie Fishback (Banks, Ore.) also had a hit in the inning, with pinch runner Marlene Lopez (Orangeburg, N.Y.) scoring for Fishback.

Fishback, Guy and sophomore Lauren Crandall (DeLand, Fla.) collected an RBI each. Crandall finished the game with a season-high three hits and reached base safely in all four plate appearances.

Jenna Lopez had two hits in the game. Senior Jessica Sachs (Chestnut Ridge, N.Y.), who closed her career with a school-record 842 at-bats, recorded a double.

"South Florida found a way to take advantage of its opportunities, and we contributed to their success by not make the plays at key moments," stated head coach Joan Joyce. "Overall, we are very proud of what our team accomplished this weekend and throughout the season. We are very excited to see what next season brings."

USF totaled 12 hits and scored two runs in the first, three in the third and solo runs in both the fifth and sixth innings. Christi Ecks (24-11) got the win for the Bulls, who advance to face the winner of the Los Angeles Regional next weekend.

Florida Atlantic closes the season at 35-25, its 11th consecutive season of 35 wins or more.

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USF Advances To NCAA Super Regional; Wins Gainesville Regional

Courtesy: USF

         Release: 05/21/2006

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Courtesy: USF

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (May 21, 2006) – The University of South Florida softball team defeated Florida Atlantic University, 7-4, on Sunday afternoon at the UF Softball Stadium to win the NCAA Gainesville Regional and clinch its first-ever berth to the NCAA Super Regional.

The Bulls are paired up with the Los Angeles Regional, which is hosted by UCLA. The Bruins will play San Diego State on Sunday afternoon in the championship game and the Bulls will likely travel to one of those schools for Super Regional action this weekend. Game times and dates are to be determined.

“It’s an overall reward for hard work,†coach Ken Eriksen said. “We’ve battled all year getting through some things. I still don’t think we’ve played our greatest games yet, and I’m hoping to accomplish that next couple of weeks. We still have a long way to go to get better to do the things we’ve got to do, but you have to be excited for us and the girls.â€Â

USF (50-23) opened up the game scoring early and often and jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Samantha Ray singled to shallow right field and advanced to second base on the passed ball. Christie Chapman came up to bat and struck out swinging, but a wild-pitch third strike allowed Chapman to advance to first. A two-out RBI single up the middle by Krista Holle scored Ray from second. Ashley Bullion followed that up with her own RBI single to right field, scoring Chapman.

In the top of the third inning, USF added three more runs to the scoreboard, 5-0. With runners at second and third, Tiffany Stewart came up to the plate and tallied her first hit of the regional – a two-RBI double to right field. After Stewart advanced to third base on a groundout, Bullion posted her second RBI-single of the game with a base hit to right field.

FAU (35-25) threatened in the bottom of the third inning, working a single and a double off of USF starter Bree Spence to put runners at second and third with no outs. Reliever Kasey Cash came in the game to face the next two batters in a lefty-versus-lefty situation and retired them on consecutive Ks. Cristi Ecks was called out of the bullpen to get the final out of the inning and continued what Cash started, ending the inning with a strikeout.

USF continued its run production in the fifth inning and sixth inning, as Holle knocked in her second run of the game off of an RBI single and Ray drove in a run off of a double.

Needing to close out the bottom of the seventh inning, FAU mounted a comeback, taking advantage of Ecks. A hit by pitch and two singles loaded the bases and a passed ball scored the Owls first run of the game. With two outs, back-to-back infield singles and a fielder’s choice drove in three more runs to make the score 7-4. FAU would not get any more off of Ecks, as she struck out Amy Bukovich for the final out.

Ecks (24-11), who hadn’t given up a run or hit in her two previous outings in the regionals, gave up four earned runs on eight hits. She came through for the Bulls when it mattered most, posting two of her seven strikeouts when in crucial situations.

Ray ended up going 3-for-4 at the plate, scoring three runs and knocking in one. Freshman Bullion also had a three-hit outing, and three USF players had two-RBI games (Bullion, Holle and Stewart).

USF-FAU Boxscore USF-FAU Boxscore

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WAY TO GO LADY BULLS.  How do we end up in the LA regional?  

OK smazza get out there and support those bulls.  

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