March 20, 2014
BOCA RATON, Fla. - UConn softball fell to Florida Atlantic, 9-2, in Thursday night action in Florida. The Huskies (5-17) earned their two runs in the fourth inning but could not recover from an early deficit. The Owls improve to 20-14 with the win.
Florida Atlantic wasted little time getting on the board as the Owls posted three runs on three hits in the bottom of the first inning. Valerie Sadowl (Horsham, Pa.) looked to respond for the Huskies in the top of the second inning, knocking a one-out single through the right side to get on base, but the Huskies couldn't drive the runner home.
Freshman pitcher Kayla Doty (Ghent, N.Y.) came in to relieve starter Lauren Duggan (Norwood, Mass.) after one out in the bottom of the second inning. Doty held the Owls scoreless for the remainder of the inning until another FAU offensive spurt pushed the Owls' lead to 6-0 in the third inning.
UConn fought back to in the subsequent at-bat with what would prove to be their only runs of the game. Alyssa Gardea (Corona, Calif.) started off the inning by reaching base on an overthrow to first by the second baseman, advancing to second on the error. Sophomore Lexi Gifford (Natick, Mass.) reached base on a similar error in the very next at bat, enabling Gardea to reach third base. The Owls were able to retire the next two Huskies and threatened to strand the runners until Alyson Ambler (Walla Walla, Wash.) delivered a timely single down the left field line to score both runs. The Owls continued to push the lead with two runs in the fifth inning and another run in the sixth to put the game out of reach, 9-2.
Florida Atlantic owned an 11-2 advantage in hits, stranding 11 runners on base to UConn's two. Duggan took the loss to fall to 4-8 on the season. Kayla Doty allowed 3 runs in 2.2 innings while Ambler tossed the final 2.0 innings and also allowed a trio of scores. Samantha Messer earned her 10th win of the season (10-3) in 5.0 innings of work, while Amanda Wilson posted two scoreless innings to close the contest.
UConn continues its Florida trip when it opens conference play at South Florida (26-8) on Saturday and Sunday. This will be the first meeting as members of the American Athletic Conference, with the previous 16 meetings coming as conference members of the former Big East. The Bulls claimed the 2013 Big East Championship last season and advanced to the NCAA Regionals for their second consecutive season.