Niners edge Florida Atlantic, 8-2
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in Florida Atlantic
03/18/2023 | 1:00 p.m.
March 18 (Saturday) / 1:00 p.m.
in Florida Atlantic
BOCA RATON, Fla. — The Charlotte softball team got back to winning ways on Friday as the Niners cruised to an 8-2 victory over Florida Atlantic. Charlotte (14-11, 3-1) earned its third conference win of the season and hit three homers in the win. Sam Gress had another spectacular outing, as the redshirt sophomore recorded his eighth win of the season.
How did it happen
The Niners chased him down in the first inning, as Bailey Vannoy hit a sack fly that scored the first inning of the game for the Niners in the top of the first. After Florida Atlantic’s top two runners reached the top of the first, Anna Devereaux made an incredible diving catch on a shallow ball, then popped up to take down the third-place runner. Gress brought in the next batter to hit a low line to Ella Chancey to end the inning.
Gress hit the side in the second as the right-hander went through two innings. After an Ashleigh Washington brace to start the third, Kassidy Krupit lined up a 1-2 pitch on the wall to put the 49ers up 3-0. Later in the inning, Vannoy hit the first of his two homers in the game to make it 4-0.
The Niners continued to add to their lead in the fourth. Kiyah Garrett ripped a double to center field that scored the fifth run of the game for the Niners, and she then scored a single by Krupit to make it 6-0. Gress ended the Owls’ offense in the fourth and fifth innings as the opposition could only muster a single in both innings.
In the sixth, the Niners offense continued to attack Florida Atlantic pitchers. Ashleigh Washington ripped an RBI triple, which almost left the court, to score Lexi Winters and give Charlotte a 7-0 lead. FAU’s offense would be on the board late in the sixth as they scored two runs on back-to-back singles, but the Niners were able to get out of bounds with no more damage.
Vannoy hit his second homer of the day in the seventh inning to score and give Charlotte an 8-2 lead heading into the seventh. Gress recorded the last outs of the inning in the seventh to end the Niners’ game and give them the win.
Gress hit a career-high 10 batters on the outing, which was also his sixth full game of the season. Krupit was a perfect 3-3 that day with a home run and three RBIs in the game. Vannoy went 2-2 and drove in three runs, in what was his first multi-home run since the Niners’ 11-1 win over Boston University on Feb. 23. The Niners had 12 hits and controlled the game on the first pitch
“It was a big win all the way and I think we played well on both sides of the ball,” head coach Ashley Chastain said. “I thought our defense was excellent and Sam [Gress] had a night of 10 outs. I thought she looked really good in the circle. Offensively from the start, I felt like we had a very good plan. I loved Ashleigh Washington in the front row. She had five at bats and it’s the second time this season that we’ve reached first place five times. Good things happen when you score a lot of points. So to have multiple players with multiple hits, 12 total hits and 10 strikeouts, you can’t ask for much more on either side of the ball.”
The Niners return after Saturday with a chance to win the series. Due to the weather forecast for Sunday, Charlotte will now play a doubleheader against Florida Atlantic on Saturday starting at 1 p.m. to end the series. The Niners will need to refocus on Saturday if they are to claim the series victory on Saturday.
“I don’t think we need to slow down,” Chastain said. “I think we have to keep putting the pressure on. We’re going to have to refocus because this result won’t have any effect on these next two games. We’re going to have to go out and win it again. I don’t want to see them hold back and thinking it’s gonna be easy Beating someone two or three times in a streak is really hard so we focus on winning the second game to win the streak and then we’ll focus on the third game to get the sweep .”
Both matches will air on CUSA.tv on Saturday. The game’s live stats can be found at the link here. Follow the team on Twitter and Instagram for updates as the series concludes on Saturday. Also check charlotte49ers.com for team news and updates throughout the season.