LAKEWOOD, N.J. – Felician University was eliminated from the 2018 Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Softball Championship tournament with two losses during the first day of play on Thursday on the campus of Georgian Court University. Felician, the event's No. 6 seed, fell to the host and No. 3 seed Lions, 2-1, in opening-round play before being defeated, 6-5, by No. 2 seed and regionally-ranked Wilmington (Del.) University later Thursday afternoon.
Felician completes the 22nd season in team history with a won-lost record of 19-24. The Golden Falcons had set a program record for conference wins with a 10-6 league mark.
Against Georgian Court (29-21), Felician senior right-hander Ashley Owens (Lockport, N.Y./Starpoint) retired her first nine batters, and carried a no-hitter into the fifth inning. It took that long, however, for her teammates to crack GCU junior lefty Jessica O'Neill (Levittown, Pa./Bucks County Tech).
With one out in the top of the fifth, senior Jeannette Roldan (Hesperia, Calif./Oak Hills) singled up the middle and stole second base. Two batters later, freshman C.J. Apacible (Long Beach, Calif./Lakewood) sent a fly ball down the left field line that bounded off the yellow fence cap and came back into play for an RBI double, missing a home run by inches.
After one was out in the home half of the fifth, freshman Elisa Lopez (North Bergen, N.J./North Bergen) picked up the Lions' first hit, starting a string of four consecutive singles which gave the hosts the lead. Kendalia Turner's (Nassau, Bahamas/Lyndon Institute) sacrifice attempt turned into a bunt hit, and Malia Black (Concord, N.C./Hickory Ridge) and Caitlin Hughes (North Plainfield, N.J./South Plainfield) followed with run-scoring singles.
Felician threatened against O'Neill (17-9) in the seventh with two singles, but she induced a comeback ground ball to end the game. The Golden Falcons left nine runners on base in the contest.
Roldan went 3 for 4 for Felician. Nicole Spiegelberg (Blauvelt, N.Y./Tappan Zee) was 2 for 2 plus a walk and Apacible also had two hits. Owens gave up five hits and struck out four in a complete-game loss.
Felician's elimination game against Wilmington featured three lead changes, the last of which saw the Wildcats score four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning for the final margin. Owens, who had started once again in the circle, gave up four hits and hit a batter in the frame. Freshman Jordyn Virden (Lewes, Del./Cape Henlopen) drew Wilmington to within one run with a two-run single, and sophomore Rosa'Lynn Burton (Dover, Del./Caesar Rodney) sent a two-run single up the middle to give her team the lead.
CACC Pitcher of the Year Makayla McCarthy (El Cajon, Calif./Steele Canyon) (17-9) had entered in the sixth to stymie a Felician rally. In the seventh, she committed a two-out error and Apacible followed with a single. But a fly ball to center field ended the season for the Golden Falcons.
Spiegelberg hit a pair of home runs for Felician, a two-run blast in the fourth inning and a solo shot in the sixth, to run her single-season Golden Falcon record to 14. Apacible was 3 for 4 and Mia Montoya (Las Vegas, Nev./John F. Kennedy [Calif.]) went 2 for 3 for Felician. Owens (15-11) tossed another complete game and was charged with four earned runs on eight hits. She struck out three batters and walked one.
Burton and catcher Annie Davila (Yorba Linda, Calif./Yorba Linda) were each 2 for 3 for the Wildcats (36-16).