Jacksonville, Fla. – With 35 regular season games in the books, Saturday marked the beginning of Mid-Florida Conference play for the Lake-Sumter State College softball team.
Jasmine McQuaig took to the circle for the Lakehawks in the conference opener against Florida State College of Jacksonville. Heading into the sixth, the sophomore had only allowed three hits, but her team was trailing, 1-0.
With just two hits of their own, the LSSC offense was in need of a boost late in the game. Brooke Ferguson led off the sixth with a single that was followed by a sacrifice bunt from Rachel Phelps. With the tying run on second base, Taylor Dotson ripped a double to the left field fence bringing around Ferguson to knot the game at 1-1.
Two walks and a fielder's choice loaded the bases for catcher, Aura Blackburn. With two outs in the sixth and a 1-1 count, the sophomore came through with a liner to short left field to score both Dotson and Jenna Curtis to put her team up, 3-1.
It was the North Marion native, McQuaig who went back out to the circle and pitched a clean 1-2-3 bottom half of the sixth. The offense for the Lakehawks could not bring around another insurance run and the game moved to the seventh and final inning.
FSCJ led off with a bullet to the right field wall, but Curtis was able to throw out the runner going for a double from the warning track with an excellent throw. The next Blue Wave hitter sent a line drive into left center which found the glove of the diving Taylor Turner for out number two. The third batter of the inning grounded out to Ferguson at second to preserve the 3-1 win in game one.
McQuaig went the distance for the fourth time this season and is now 7-2 on the year.
Game two was a different type of ball game with both teams breaking out the bats to score two runs each in the first. It was the top of the second inning when the Lakehawks did most of their damage.
Taylor Turner started the inning off with a walk and eventually scored on an FSCJ miscue. With two outs in the inning and Hailey Dobbs at third and Ferguson at second, Phelps got things going again with a single into left field knocking in both runs. Phelps was followed by Jenna Curtis who hit her first collegiate home run to pull out in front, 7-2.
After the big inning, Abbey Primavera settled in for the duration of the game allowing one run on three hits with no walks in the final five frames. Her team was able to plate three more runs, including a solo blast from Allie Geier, the first of her career, helping her team to the run rule victory, 11-3.
"It was the best way possible to start conference play," said Head Coach, Jay Miller. "Pitching was huge and the defense backed it up. Although we started sluggish with the bats in game one, we came through when we needed to and then turned it on in game two."
The Lakehawks are now 2-0, 23-14 on the season. St. Johns River will come to the Hawks Nest Tuesday to continue conference play. Game one of the double header will start at 2:30.