Auburn Can't Overcome FIU, Falls 4-0 In Tournament Championship
February 6, 2005
MIAMI -- Florida International used a four-run seventh to subdue top-seeded Auburn, 4-0, in the championship game of the Diamond Fun & Sun Classic Sunday at the University Park Softball Field.
Auburn, which earned the runner-up title, fell to 3-2 in the three-day tournament while FIU finished 5-1. The Tigers had earned a bye Sunday until the championship game due to Illinois State’s travel itinerary, while FIU defeated South Florida, 4-0, earlier Sunday to advance to the title game.
“It’s a real tough way to end the tournament,” Auburn head coach Tina Deese said. “But you have to give credit to FIU. Their players played as hard as ours did, and just got a few hits when they needed them. We played well throughout the weekend but just couldn’t pull it through on Sunday.”
Auburn (3-2) placed three players on the Diamond Fun & Sun Classic All-Tournament team. Holly Currie, Sara Dean and Sara Ghezzi were named to the 11-player team.
Florida International (6-2) scored all of its runs in the seventh inning. Diana Joy started it off by reaching on an error on a bunt, then moved to second when Deomni Murray beat out an infield single. Both runners advanced when Brook Ruiz reached on a fielder’s choice in the next at bat, loading the bases with no outs.
Currie then relieved starter Beth DiPietro, but immediately walked Marleah Stapf, forcing in the Golden Panthers’ first run of the game. Tiffany Ore broke the game open a batter later, doubling to the right center field fence, clearing the bases and putting FIU up by four.
DiPietro threw a no-hitter through five, striking out three. Brittany Witherow broke the no-hitter with a single through the middle in the top of the sixth, but was doubled off at first a batter later when Lindsay Tippings couldn’t get a bunt down and popped it up to DiPietro.
“Beth had a really good outing from the circle,” Deese said. “She made good decisions with her pitches and was changing up speeds really well.”
DiPietro finished with six innings of work, allowing two hits and three runs while striking out four. She fell to 1-1. Currie worked one inning in relief, allowing one hit and one run while striking out two.
Amanda Nealer got the win after throwing seven scoreless innings, allowing four hits while striking out four. She improved to 3-1 on the young season.
Auburn now heads home where it will host Alabama State Wednesday in the 2005 home-opener. The game, at Jane B. Moore Field, is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. CT. Admission is free. Follow the game live on the Internet at www.auburntigers.com. Click on the live audio and live stat links on the right side of the page to catch the action or tune into WANI-FM (1400) to listen to the game.
TIGER NOTES: Auburn turned its first double play of the season in the second ... FIU’s Tabitha Embry popped the ball up to shortstop Ashley Griffin, who gunned out Tiffany Ore when she attempted to return to first base ... Beth DiPietro retired the side in the first inning, the second game in a row the Tigers accomplished the feat ... The first was also against Florida International ... Griffin started her 100th straight game ... It is the second-longest streak on the Tigers behind Sara Dean, who has started 153 games in a row ... Auburn wore its orange uniforms for the first time this season. The Tigers wore white Friday, going 1-1, and blue on Saturday, sweeping both games on the second day of the tournament ... Other all-tournament players included Kentucky’s Megan Glenn, Illinois State’s Shannon Nicholson and Dominique Borba, South Florida’s Samantha Ray and Krista Holle and Florida International’s Deomni Murray, Tiffany Ore and Cassie Parker. FIU’s Amanda Nealer was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.