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Titans Suffer Doubleheader Sweep in Softball; Face Must-Win Games on Saturday
April 16, 2014 - Eastern Florida's softball team suffered a disheartening doubleheader sweep at the hands of the nation's No. 1 team on Wednesday, bowing 7-4 and 4-2 to Indian River State College on the Palm Bay Campus.
The defeats denied Eastern Florida the possibility of overtaking Indian River State atop the Florida College System Activities Association Southern Conference.
Instead Indian River can do no worse than co-champions of the conference with Miami Dade College while Eastern Florida must beat Miami Dade twice on Saturday in Palm Bay to avoid a possible playoff with Palm Beach State College to determine the conference's third-place finisher and third qualifier for the state tournament.
Eastern Florida has reached the state tournament in the last nine seasons.
Eastern Florida fell to 8-6 in the conference and 22-23 overall. Indian River completed its conference schedule at 12-4 and moved to 38-8 overall.
Miami Dade was 8-4 and 24-12 heading into Wednesday's doubleheader with Broward College (0-12 and 1-36). Palm Beach, which is 6-8 and 18-28, finishes its conference season against Broward on Friday, putting the onus on Eastern Florida, which hosts Miami Dade at 1 and 3 p.m., to win.
"We're still there, what did Yogi Berra say, 'it's not over until it's over?'" said Eastern Florida assistant coach Bob Yanczewski.
"It's not over yet. We feel confident in our team that they'll get the win when they need the win. They know what they need to do. We already set that on the table for them. They know they've got to win.
"No sense standing here and pounding it into them. They know what they've got to do. If they can play like they played in the second game maybe the result is different."
Despite being held to three hits and being induced into 13 ground-ball outs by Indian River right-hander Lisette Garay the Titans broke through for a 2-0 lead in the third inning of the second game on a bloop double by Devin Williams, a single by Brooke Formby, an error and a groundout.
But that was all Eastern Florida could muster against Garay who retired 14 of the final 15 batters she faced and now has held the Titans to a total of six hits and two runs over 12 innings in the last two times she faced them.
"She's a tough pitcher," Yanczewski said. "She's out there working hard, throwing strikes. You're throwing strikes you're beating the ball on the ground, that's what we did.
"We didn't get the big hit when we needed the big hit. They did. They got the bloop," Yanczewski added about Shelby Duncan's two-out, two-run double that barely cleared the infield but brought home the winning runs in the sixth inning.
Amber Atkinson, who finished the doubleheader with six hits, was intentionally walked to bring Duncan to the plate but the move backfired.
For her part Eastern Florida starter Dajia Jones pitched courageously but eventually surrendered 11 hits to take the loss.
In the first game Indian River sent eight batters to the plate in the fifth inning and scored twice to break a 3-3 tie. The Pioneers left the bases loaded.
Indian River rapped out 11 hits in the first game and took advantage of four walks and a wild pitch from losing pitcher Formby and of four Eastern Florida errors.
The Titans collected nine hits with Manya Lopez getting three and Formby and Bri Seaman getting two apiece.
Seaman had two runs batted in and Jones one.
But the Titans, after rallying from 2-0 and 3-2 deficits, managed only four base runners over the final four innings and couldn't get another run home until Formby scored on a groundout in the last of the seventh.
Formby scored twice and Lopez added a walk to her three hits, reaching base all four times.
Indian River was guilty of two wild pitches and one error in the first game.
Eastern Florida played errorless ball in the second game.