MOBILE, Ala. (April 28, 2012) - With second place in the Sun Belt Conference on the line, the FIU softball team (25-24, 13-8 SBC) earned a split against South Alabama (32-15, 14-7 SBC) on Saturday afternoon at Jaguar Field. Pitchers dominated the afternoon as FIU won game one, 1-0, before losing, 2-0, in the nightcap.
It was all about the pitchers in game one as the top two strikeout pitchers in the conference we're matched up in a duel that featured only five combined hits.
Sophomore Mariah Dawson emerged the victor, hurling her sixth complete-game shutout of the season while adding 10 strikeouts to her SBC-leading total. She allowed just two hits and walked a pair of hitters to improve to 18-11 on the year.
The lone run of the game came immediately when the Panthers opened the contest with three-consecutive hits. Juniors Jessy Alfonso and Alex Casals singled followed by a double by senior Ashley McClain to bring in Alfonso.
South Alabama starter Hannah Campbell (16-10) got in a groove after that, retiring 14 of the 15 FIU hitters. The home team had a couple of scoring chances throughout the game but Dawson worked out of it each time, holding the Jaguars hitless in six at bats with runners in scoring position.
The FIU win ended an 11-game home winning streak for South Alabama, which had not lost at home since Feb. 12.
Game two featured more zeroes as the game was scoreless until the fourth inning.
South Alabama put more runners aboard but senior Jenn Gniadek was able to strand all of them through the first three innings, leaving six in scoring position.
The Jaguars broke through in the fourth, however, scoring a run on a bases loaded walk for the first run of the game. South Alabama added an unearned insurance run in the sixth inning on a wild pitch as FIU nearly escaped a bases loaded, no-out jam.
Gniadek was charged with both runs in five innings of work to drop to 7-10 on the year. Farish Beard (5-2) went the distance for South Alabama, scattering three hits in the shutout effort.
The rubber game of the series will take place on Sunday at noon EST as the Panthers need a win to climb back into a second place tie with South Alabama. Fans can follow the action with Gametracker through FIUSports.com or on Twitter (twitter.com/FIUSoftball).
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.