March 1, 2013
CLEARWATER, Fla. - Loyola University Chicago (2-3) held a one-run lead after one inning of play, but Florida Gulf Coast (10-4) rallied for thee runs in the third and never looked back en route to a 5-2 victory tonight at the USF Under Armour Invitational. Seven Ramblers recorded a hit against an Eagles team that was a vote getter in the latest ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll.
After Florida Gulf Coast jumped on the board with a run in the top of the first inning, the Ramblers countered with two runs of their own on a Brie Pasquale two-out sacrifice fly that scored Brooke Andresen, and later in the inning, they added another on an Eagles error.
That lead would be short-lived though because FGCU would open the third inning with a single and back-to-back walks before Emily Lanier crushed a grand slam over the right field fence to give the Eagles a three-run advantage.
Loyola would not go without scoring opportunities the rest of the game, putting a runner on in the fourth through seventh innings. The Ramblers' best chance to make a comeback and get back into the contest came in the bottom of the seventh. Andresen led off with a double and Jessica Balzano followed with a single to give the Ramblers runners at the corners with no outs, but righthander Jaclyn Owen got Lauren Moore to foul out and then struck out the next two batters to close the door on Loyola's rally.
Andresen now needs six hits to match Ellen Antonacci's Loyola career mark of 177 hits, and freshman Kristina Vizza came on in relief to strike out four in 4.2 innings of work for the Ramblers.
Loyola continues play at the USF Under Armour Invitational Saturday when it faces Eastern Kentucky and Central Michigan.