BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (April 14, 2012) – Opening a 12-game road trip, the FIU Panthers nearly got off to a great start, narrowly missing a doubleheader sweep of WKU on Saturday night. The Panthers (21-19, 9-6 SBC) took game one, 4-1, and were on the wrong end of a 7-6 decision in the night cap against the Lady Toppers (25-16-1, 7-6-1 SBC).
FIU used a four-run fourth inning to back sophomore Mariah Dawson’s 16th win of the year. She went the distance for the 13th time this year and allowed just one run on six hits.
WKU took the lead first with a solo homer in the third, the only blemish on Dawson’s line.
The Panthers responded with four runs in the next half inning as junior Alex Casals doubled home two runs. Sophomore Rachel Slowik then launched her first homerun of the season, a two-run shot, to round out the scoring.
Slowik was the only Panthers to record multiple hits as the team finished with six.
Game two was a dramatic affair that saw the Panthers rally twice but the home team eventually triumphed with a walk-off win.
WKU jumped out to a 3-0 lead before FIU put up two runs in the top of the fourth on Slowik’s double. The Panthers evened the game in the following inning on senior Kelsey Grabiak’s RBI single.
After the Lady Toppers regained the lead with a two-spot in the bottom half of the inning, Casals leveled the game once again with a two-run single in the sixth. Casals finished the contest with a career-high-tying three hits and also scored a run.
In the seventh, FIU grabbed its first lead of the game on AJ Woodward’s first-career homer, a solo shot to left on an 0-2 pitch. WKU had the last laugh, though, registering a two-run single in the bottom half to win the game.
Senior Jenn Gniadek (5-7) was FIU’s only pitcher in game two and was charged with four earned runs as the FIU defense committed three errors. Kim Wagner (11-4) earned the win in relief.
The rubber game of the series is set for 1 p.m. tomorrow afternoon as the Panthers try to keep up in the Sun Belt Conference race.
About FIU Athletics: FIU Athletics is home to more than 400 student-athletes in 18 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 nearly 48,000 students in two campuses 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 18 sports. For more information about FIU, visit www.fiu.edu.