Softball: Owls start conference play with series sweep over Middle Tennessee

Pitchers Amanda Wilson and Kylee Hanson allow one total run over the weekend’s three games.

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Softball: Owls start conference play with series sweep over Middle Tennessee

Junior rightfielder Delaney Rickey runs out a grounder to first base during the Owls game versus Penn State on Feb. 14. Ryan Lynch | Multimedia Editor

Junior rightfielder Delaney Rickey runs out a grounder to first base during the Owls game versus Penn State on Feb. 14. Ryan Lynch | Multimedia Editor

Junior rightfielder Delaney Rickey runs out a grounder to first base during the Owls game versus Penn State on Feb. 14. Ryan Lynch | Multimedia Editor

Junior rightfielder Delaney Rickey runs out a grounder to first base during the Owls game versus Penn State on Feb. 14. Ryan Lynch | Multimedia Editor

Brendan Feeney, Sports Editor

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The Florida Atlantic softball team opened up Conference USA play with a three-game sweep of the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders over the weekend.

The Owls (26-5, 3-0 C-USA) used two pitchers to limit the Blue Raiders (14-15, 2-4 C-USA) to one run in the three games combined.

Junior Kylee Hanson started the first and last games of the series, picking up two complete game shutout victories. She allowed a total of four hits while striking out 14 batters.

Junior Amanda Wilson recorded her eighth win of the season in Saturday’s 3-1 complete game effort.

The Owls will have four days off before hosting Southern Mississippi over Easter weekend. They will begin the series with a doubleheader on March 25 at 4 p.m. The last game of the series will be on Saturday at 1 p.m.

Here is a recap of each game:

Game One: FAU 9, MTSU 0 (6)

The Owls took advantage of being the away team on Friday, putting the Blue Raiders behind by three-runs before MTSU got its first chance at the plate. With Hanson on the mound, the first inning was all the Owls’ offense needed.

Junior right fielder Delaney Rickey and senior center fielder Christina Martinez reached base safely to start the game on an error and a single respectively. Then, without any FAU batter hitting the ball, both of them scored thanks to a hit by pitch followed by two straight walks.

Sophomore shortstop Emily Lochten later scored in the inning on a fielder’s choice by senior catcher Mickey Bell.

In the fifth inning, Melissa Martinez hit a three-run home run down the left field line to stretch the Owls’ lead to six.

FAU had one more three-run inning in the sixth. One run was scored off a groundout, while Buckley knocked in the other two with a double to center field.

Game Two: FAU 3, MTSU 1

FAU’s offense was not as potent as it was in the series’ opening and closing games. However, Wilson only needed her teammates to score two runs to ensure a victory; they scored three.

Rickey scored the game’s first run in the third inning off a sacrifice bunt by Lochten.

The score stayed 1-0 in the Owls’ favor until they added two more in the fifth inning. After senior Carnesha Thompson reached base thanks to an error by sophomore third baseman Kristin Uselton, Lochten laced a home run to left field.

Wilson gave up her lone run of the game in the sixth inning when freshman shortstop Payton Grove drove in senior first baseman Carlie Jenkins on a single to right field.

Game Three: FAU 7, MTSU 0

Sunday’s game was eerily similar to Friday’s opener as the Blue Raiders’ offense was again unable to plate a run against Hanson during her second shutout in three days. Also like Friday’s game, Middle Tennessee couldn’t contain the Owls’ bats.

Bell singled in Buckley in the second for the Owls’ first of four runs in the inning. The next batter, sophomore designated hitter Alex Miller, tripled to right-center field to score Bell and junior left fielder Sarah Bencivenga.

Miller scored on a Rickey single in the following at bat.

After a scoreless third inning, Lochten stepped up to the plate in the fourth with Miller and Christina Martinez on base. Both would score as Lochten singled to left field.

The Owls scored their seventh and final run in the following inning on Rickey’s second RBI single of the game.

Brendan Feeney is the sports editor of the University Press. To contact him regarding this or other stories, he can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter.