Softball struggles in Gulf Coast Invitational

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follow link The third-ranked University of West Florida softball team couldn’t seem to find its groove, going 2-3 in the Gulf Coast Invitational last weekend. The Argos faced tough competition, falling to Eckerd 5-4, No. 7 West Georgia 8-0 and No. 23 Saint Leo 5-4.

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The loss to Saint Leo came in extra innings.

“Obviously it was a disappointing weekend, we didn’t hit well, we had a few defensive miscues and we didn’t play up to our ability,” coach Melissa Paul said.

The Argos committed nine errors on the weekend and struggled to produce with runners in scoring position.

“We have to put the ball in play when we have runners in scoring position, we didn’t take advantage of those opportunities,” Paul said.

Junior shortstop Rhiannon Sassman and senior second baseman Meghan Toney led the Argos with six hits on the weekend.

Senior third baseman Tiona Hill added six RBIs of her own.

After the first weekend of play, several Argos are among the top 10 in the Gulf South Conference.

After going 4-for-6 on the weekend, which included a two-hit game on Sunday, sophomore catcher Jacquelynne Poling leads the GSC with a .667 batting average, ranks second with a .714 on-base percentage, and is sixth in the league in slugging at .833.

Sassman is not far behind in any of those three categories, standing 10th in batting (.545), third in OBP (.706) and eighth in slugging (.818). Hill ranks second in the league with six RBIs through five games.

UWF (3-2) went 4-1 in last year’s Gulf Coast invitational, before struggling for the first half of the season. The Argos got off to a 10-7 start in 2017. They would go on to find themselves in Salem, Virginia, at the end of the year, competing in the Division II Women’s College World Series.

“It was a wake- up call for us,” Paul said.   “A lot of people don’t remember we started off 10-7 last year before we really got into a rhythm”

UWF is on the road to South Florida this week, visiting Palm Beach Atlantic, Nova Southeastern, and Barry for doubleheaders on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. The Argos will not play in a home game until Feb. 21. The opponent for that home game has not yet been named.