OCALA-- The College of Central Florida softball team opened up the 2019 season at the JUCO Kickoff Classic in Clearwater, going 5-1 at the two-day event.
The Lady Patriots suffered a 6-5 loss to State College of Florida-Manatee in the first game of the weekend. CF led 5-4 after five innings, but the Manatees plated the tying run in the top of the sixth before driving in the eventual winning run in the top of the seventh to complete the rally.
From there, the Lady Patriots rolled to five consecutive wins, including three five-inning run rules, against: Puerto Rican National Team (16-0 5IN), Gulf Coast State College (11-2 5IN), ABAC (9-0), Palm Beach State College (8-0 5IN), and Hillsborough Community College (10-2).
Freshman first baseman Olivia Simon led all CF hitters on the weekend, batting .529 with 9 hits, 8 RBI, 8 runs score and two homers. Returning shortstop Gretchen Ebert drove in seven runs on eight hits and a home run, while fellow returners Anina Fernandez (7 hits, HR), Maggie Trgo (5 hits) and Elaina Lukas each drove in five runs in six games.
Freshman pitcher Caroline Hoppe led the Patriots in the circle, going 2-0 on the weekend with one save and a no-hitter against ABAC on Saturday morning. On the weekend, Hoppe allowed just two runs on hits in 13.2 innings pitched, collecting a 1.02 ERA.
Returner Samantha Urbina also threw a no-hitter in the run-rule against the Puerto Rican National Team on Friday afternoon.
CF will return to action on Thursday for its home opener. The Lady Patriots will host Tallahassee Community College for a doubleheader at 2 and 4 p.m. at the CF Softball Complex.