Bucs Split Day One in Dothan

Natavia Ellis (Photo by Roy Allen)
Natavia Ellis (Photo by Roy Allen)
DOTHAN, Ala.- The #2 Florida SouthWestern State Softball team split a pair of games on the road in Dothan, Alabama Friday, downing Northwest Florida State 9-3 before dropping a heartbreaking 5-4 extra innings affair with #5 Salt Lake to wrap up the day.  
It didn't take long for the Buccaneers' high powered offense to get going in their first contest of the day against Northwest Florida as Natavia Ellis doubled to lead off the FSW 2nd and Feline Poot blasted her first collegiate home run over the wall in left to give the Bucs a quick 2-0 lead.  Later in the inning Charlotte Drijvers drove home Owen Bowers, who doubled, to make it 3-0 and FSW got their fourth run of the frame when Rebeca Laudino doubled home Janessa Plummer with two outs to give the Bucs a 4-0 lead after two.  
The Bucs blew things open in the 4th when Lindsey Corbin lifted a sacrifice fly to push the lead to 5-0 and then a Raider error allowed two more to score to make it a 7-0 game.  
Northwest Florida finally got on the board in the 5th when they scored on an FSW error to make it 7-1 and then plated two more on a two run home run to trim the Bucs' lead to 7-3 after five.  
The Bucs added some insurance in the top of the 7th as Owen Bowers brought home a run on a groundout and Kayla Domon tripled into the gap to plate another, but they wouldn't need it as Sarah Clontz closed things out in the bottom of the frame to seal a 9-3 win for FSW.  
Ellis led the Bucs with a perfect 3 for 3 contest at the plate while Plummer and Domon each had 2 hits as well.  Clontz earned the win in the circle, going 5 innings out of the bullpen, allowing 6 hits and 3 runs while striking out 6.  Emily Perrin threw 2 scoreless innings to open the game for FSW. 
The Bucs' second matchup of the day was a marquee one as they squared off against #5 Salt Lake in an NJCAA Top 5 battle.  
Things didn't start well for the Bucs as Salt Lake pushed a run across right away in the 1st after a leadoff double to take an early 1-0 lead.  
It remained a 1-0 game to the 3rd when the Bruins added to their lead, getting another extra base hit to begin an inning, this time a triple followed by a groundout to take a 2-0 lead and later in the inning an RBI infield single to stretch their lead to 3-0. 
It only took one swing in the bottom of the 3rd for the Bucs to get right back into the game as Ellis send the first pitch she saw sailing over the fence in center for a two run shot to make it a one run game in the blink of an eye at 3-2. 
An FSW error cost them a run in the 4th to push the Bruins' lead back to 4-2 and it stayed that way until the Bucs came to bat in the bottom of the 6th.  
Pitcher Haley Ellefson helped herself out with the bat as she tripled to begin the 6th for FSW and scored two pitches later when Poot registered her first career triple to make it 4-3.  With two outs in the inning, freshman Alex Hare came up big with an RBI double to knot things up as the game went to the 7th tied at 4.  
Both teams put a runner in scoring position in the 7th, but neither could bring one home as the teams went to extra innings deadlocked at 4.  
With the international tiebreaker in place, Salt Lake began the extra frame with a runner on second and a walk put two on with nobody out.  A sac bunt moved the runners up 60 feet and a single to left brought a run home for the Bruins to give them a 5-4 lead.  
The Bucs had the same opportunity, with a runner starting on second for their half of the 8th, but they were unable to come through with the big hit as Salt Lake shut it down and sealed a 5-4 win to cap off their afternoon. 
FSW actually outhit Salt Lake 10-7 in the ballgame, but three key Buccaneer errors allowed two unearned runs, which proved to be the difference in the loss.  Ellefson and Poot each had 2 hits for the Bucs in the defeat while Ellefson went all 8 innings in the circle, allowing just 7 hits and 2 earned runs, but suffered the first loss of her collegiate career, falling to 2-1 on the year and 16-1 in her FSW career.  
The Bucs move to 4-1 with the split while Northwest Florida ends the day 4-3 and Salt Lake 5-2.  
The Bucs won't have any time to lick their wounds after the loss as their Saturday slate is every bit as competitive as Friday was as they will take on #19 Southern Idaho at 10 AM and #14 Chattanooga State right after that at noon.