The Florida Atlantic softball team hung tough but ultimately fell to Louisiana-Lafayette 8-3 in the Sun Belt Tournament Championship game on Saturday.
The Owls won a thriller over Western Kentucky on Saturday morning to advance to the final game. WKU, as it had on Friday night, took an early lead on an RBI single by Terri Ellingsworth. FAU tied the game on an Amber Barton homerun to left field. The Hilltoppers regained the lead in the top of the third inning on a RBI triple by Sam Cronk and another base hit by Ellingsworth.
Caitlyn Bliss put the Owls ahead for the first time in the bottom of the fifth with a homerun of her own. WKU scored two runs in the top of the seventh inning to take a 5-4 lead. Ashlyn Parmerter reached on a fielding error to lead off the bottom of the seventh inning, and after a fielder’s choice at second for the first out of the inning, Blair Bodenmiller and Bliss hit back-to-back singles that plated Amber Jones and tied the game at 5.
That brought Amy Bukovich to the plate with one out, Bukovich singled to right and an errant throw by the right fielder got past Ellingsworth and allowed Bodenmiller to score the winning run.
Against ULL, FAU jumped out a quick 1-0 lead in the first inning on a RBI double by Bukovich that drove in Bodenmiller. The Ragin’ Cajuns tied the game in the fourth on a solo shot by Lana Bowers. The score remained deadlocked at one until the top of the sixth inning when ULL scored four runs to take a 5-1 lead. The Owls scratched a run across in the sixth but ULL added three more runs in the seventh to take an 8-2 lead. Bodenmiller drove in Kerri Croney in the bottom of the inning, but FAU couldn’t get any closer.
Bodenmiller and Bukovich were named to the all-tournament team. The Owls end the season with a 30-30 overall record and are scheduled to return seven players who started at least 39 games and all four pitchers for the 2010 season.