FULLERTON, Calif. (March 2, 2012) - The FIU softball team (7-9) dropped a pair of games in day one of the DeMARINI Invitational on Friday, March 2. The Panthers fell 8-1 to No. 1 Cal (13-0) in game one before being upended 6-2 by host Cal State Fullerton (7-11) in the nightcap.
In game one, the Panthers hung around with top-ranked Cal for a few innings before the Golden Bears flexed their muscles and eventually pulled away.
Cal pushed two runs across in the first inning and one more in the third before FIU finally got on the board in the fourth. Junior Kayla Burri led off with a single and she traded places with junior Beth Peller at first base after a fielder's choice. After Peller advanced to second, junior Brie Rojas legged out an infield single and Peller came around to score after the ball got away from the Cal first baseman.
The Golden Bears responded with five runs over the next two frames and ran away with the game, remaining undefeated with an 8-1 triumph.
Sophomore Mariah Dawson started in the circle and surrendered five runs on eight hits in her 3.2 innings of work, dropping to 5-3 on the season.
Cal's Valerie Arioto hurled seven innings of three-hit ball, allowing the one unearned run to improve to 6-0. She showed why she is one of the nation's top players, striking out seven while driving in two runs on two hits at the dish.
In game two, FIU quickly got ahead in the first when McClain singled home Burri, who also reached on a single. Cal State Fullerton responded with a two-run homer in the home half of the first to a 2-1 advantage.
McClain evened things up at two in the third with her second RBI of the game, driving in Burri once again. The two RBI on the day brings McClain's career total to 135, one behind the all-time mark set by Jennifer Owens (2001-04).
The Titans retook the lead for good in the bottom half of the third, pushing across three runs to grab a 5-2 lead. The home team tacked on another one in the fourth to round out the scoring.
Senior Jenn Gniadek (2-5) was tagged with the loss for FIU, surrendering six runs in four innings of work. CSF's Aly Fascetti (5-6) earned the victory for the Titans in relief, tossing four innings of scoreless ball.
FIU will return to action on Saturday, March 3, for day two of the DeMARINI Invitational against Indiana at 2:15 p.m. EST, followed by a 6:45 p.m. EST matchup against No. 10/11 Stanford.
About FIU Athletics: FIU Athletics is home to more than 400 student-athletes in 17 different sports, and is a proud member of the Sun Belt Conference and an affiliate member of Conference USA (men's soccer). Athletic events are played in seven different venues on FIU's campuses (Modesto A. Maidique and Biscayne Bay), including U.S. Century Bank Arena and Alfonso Field at FIU Stadium.
About FIU: Florida International University is recognized as a Carnegie engaged university. Its colleges and schools offer more than 180 bachelor's, master's and doctoral programs in fields such as engineering, international relations, architecture, law and medicine. As one of South Florida's anchor institutions, FIU is worlds ahead in its local and global engagement, finding solutions to the most challenging problems of our time. FIU emphasizes research as a major component of its mission and enrolls 46,000 students in two campus and three centers including FIU Downtown on Brickell and the Miami Beach Urban Studios. More than 140,000 alumni live and work in South Florida. FIU is a member of the Sun Belt Conference and has 400 student-athletes participating in 17 sports. In 2010 the Panthers won their first bowl game. For more information about FIU, visit www.fiu.edu.