The Tigers' inaugural softball season was off to a roaring start in 2020 before it was cut short like everything else last March, but Valerie Cagle and the rest of the ladies have picked up where they left off, winning each of their first two games in a Jacksonville double-header to start the season on Friday. Two-way star Valerie Cagle, who had a sensational 2020 both on the mound and at the plate, shut out Illinois State retiring 9 of 15 batters by strikeout. She allowed just one hit and one walk in 5 innings. Freshman McKenzie Clark led off the game with a triple on the very first pitch and scored on a throwing error to start the season with a bang, and the Tigers rolled to an 11-0 win. Clark was 2-4 with 3 RBI's in her debut. Power hitter Melissa Guimbarda, who had 11 HR's in 27 games last season to lead the Tigers, wasted no time in hitting her first homer of the season. She was 2-2 with a walk and 3 RBI's.
The Tigers faced home team North Florida in their second game of the double-header on Friday and were put to the test in a tight pitchers' duel. Valerie Cagle was the hero again, though, both on the mound and at the plate as the Tigers held on to win 4-3. Cagle drove in all 4 of the Tigers' runs with a pair of 2-run HR's. She was second on the team last season with 10 HR's, just one behind Melissa Guimbarda. Her first homer came in the top of the 1st to give the Tigers the early lead. However, UNF scored 3 runs in the 4th to take a one-run lead. Cagle's clutch homer in the last inning put the Tigers back ahead, and then top it all off, she returned to the mound to record the save!
The Tigers' remaining two games of the weekend were canceled due to weather. They begin ACC play next as they host No.15 VA Tech on Thursday in their home opener.
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