Miami, Fla.- Charlotte picked up milestone victory number 500 for Head Coach Aimee DeVos in the opening game of the series defeating the Panthers 2-0 but fell in the night cap 15-3 in five innings.
"In game one, our team was ready to play," said Coach Aimee DeVos. "We played to win each inning and played with the utmost confidence to get the job done. Lexi Betancourt and Jackie Kleinsmith worked flawlessly on the mound. The offense stepped up and scored the runs. Very proud of this team."
"It felt great to start off conference play with a win. I've been incredibly fortunate to get all 500 while at Charlotte and have tremendous support from the administration, the staff, the fans and ultimately all the players and my assistants over the last 20 years," said DeVos about win number 500.
Jessie Fennel and Hannah Bright picked up the lone hits for the Niners in the night cap as the Panthers out hit the Niners 14-2.
Charlotte (9-9, 1-1) and FIU (15-7, 1-1) posted zeros on the board through the first four innings of game one and scattering three hits apiece.
Courtney Carroll started the Niner rally in the top of the fifth inning of a scoreless game. Carroll drew a lead-off walk. Lexi Betancourt fought off a number of pitches until she sent a 2-2 pitch over the left field wall for her second home run of the season and gave the Niners what would’ve been a 2-0 lead. After some deliberation, umps call Betancourt out and one run scores.
Niners pushed across another run in the top sixth inning. Chelsea Lisikatos opened the inning with a double to right field. Paige Wall pinch ran for Lisikatos at second. Jessie Fennell flew out to straight away center at the wall allowing Wall to tag and go to third. Hayley Lewis delivers a RBI single into right field giving the Niners a 2-0 lead.
Charlotte loaded the bases in the sixth inning after the Lewis single but left the bases juiced and scored only one run. Courtney Carroll drew her second walk of the game followed by a Natalie Capone hit-by-pitch to load them up.
Jessica Plemmons started off the top of the seventh with a one out walk. Chelsea Lisikatos hit a grounder to third base and reached on an error. Plemmons went all the way to third on the error. The Niners couldn’t push across the insurance runs.
Charlotte gained momentum defensively with some outstanding plays by Natalie Capone and Courtney Carroll. Natalie Capone snagged a line drive out of the air in the bottom of the fifth inning. Courtney Carroll robbed Aleima Lopez in the bottom of the seventh inning of extra bases with a diving catch in the left center gap.
In the night cap FIU came out of the gate swinging posting 12 runs in the second and third innings. FIU posted three runs in the bottom of the second inning for a 3-0 lead. All three runs were unearned thanks to two throwing errors in the inning by the Niners.
FIU jumped on the board again in the bottom of the third inning plating nine runs are giving the Panthers a commanding 12-0 lead. FIU found the gaps on its way to nine hits in the inning. The Panther rally was capped off by a Gabby Spallone home run to left center.
Charlotte cracked the scoreboard in the top of the fourth inning plating two runs in the inning. Jessica Plemmons leads off with a two-out walk to start the rally. Chelsea Lisikatos walked as well to put two runners on for the Niners. Jessie Fennell loaded the bases with an infield single to the shortstop. A Mariah Dawson wild pitch allowed Plemmons to score from third. Hannah Bright picked up an RBI infield single to the third baseman to score Lisikatos to cut into the deficit 12-2.
FIU plated two more in the bottom of the fourth inning after back-to-back doubles by the Panthers. An RBI triple by Spallone gave the Panthers a 15-2 lead.
Charlotte fought back in the top half of the fifth inning by loading the bases. Jessica Plemmons grounded out to the right side of the infield pushing across the final run of the game.
Lexi Betancourt (8-4) picked up the win in game one throwing her third shutout of the season. Betancourt pitched seven shutout innings allowing three hits and picking up nine strikeouts. FIU's starter Corinne Jenkins picked up the loss and dropping her to 8-2 on the season. Jenkins allowed two runs off seven hits in 5.1 innings.
Chelsea Lisikatos got the start in the circle for game two but was pulled in the bottom of the third. FIU tagged Lisikatos for eight runs (six earned) off six hits. Mackenzie Hauser pitched in relief of Lisikatos. Hauser allowed the final seven runs off eight hits. Lisikatos picked up the loss and fell to 0-3 on the season. FIU's starter Shelby Graves (6-3) picked up the win tossing three shutout innings and kept the Niners hitless. Panther reliever Mariah Dawson pitched the final two innings allowing three runs (two earned) off two hits and walked five.
Charlotte will return to action for the final game of the series at 12 pm at the FIU Softball Complex.