@FGCU_Softball to Begin Six-Game Road Trip with Series Against Mercer
Friday, April 05, 2013 | by Andrew Piper (@ADPiper7)
@FGCU_Softball will start a six-game road trip on April 6. (Photo by Linwood Ferguson)
@FGCU_Softball will start a six-game road trip on April 6. (Photo by Linwood Ferguson)
Florida Gulf Coast (24-13, 5-4 A-Sun)
Mercer (22-21, 10-6 A-Sun)
4/6/2013 | Macon, Ga. | Attendance: 100
Florida Gulf Coast0104001690
Win: RICE (12-9) 7.096660
Loss: OWEN (6-5) 0.001120
SHIVER (MER) 313101

Date: April 6-7, 2013
City: Macon, Ga.
Site: Sikes Field
Live Stats: FGCUAthletics.com
Twitter: @FGCU_Softball | @ADPiper7
Hashtags: #EaglePride / #ASunSB / #WingsUp
Current Streak: Lost 3
On the Road: 5-3
All-Time vs. Mercer: 5-3
Game Times: Saturday, April 6 (DH) – 1 p.m. & 3 p.m. | Sunday, April 7 – 1 p.m.

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Looking to end a three-game losing streak after being swept by Lipscomb at home, the FGCU softball team (24-12, 5-3 A-Sun) will hit the road for a six-game road trip around the state of Georgia, starting with a three-game series vs. Mercer at Sikes Field that will begin with a doubleheader on Saturday, April 6 and will conclude on Sunday, April 7.

The first two games of the series will be played on Saturday, April 6 in a twin billing that will start at 1 p.m. with the third and final game of the set to be played on Sunday, April 7 at 1 p.m.

FGCU will look to snap its current three-game skid that stemmed from a three-game sweep to Lipscomb that took place March 29-30. The sweep marked the first time that the Green and Blue have suffered an A-Sun sweep since suffering a two-game series sweep on April 18, 2011 to Jacksonville.

Mercer (21-21, 9-6 A-Sun) has surprised some to this point in the season as they were selected to finish at the bottom of the A-Sun standings in a tie for eighth place in the Preseason Coaches’ Poll. The Bears are currently sitting in fifth place in league standings and have played the most conference games among the 10 A-Sun member schools heading into their series against FGCU.

McKenzie Woody of Mercer was selected to the Preseason All-Atlantic Sun Team in the outfield next to FGCU junior Jessica Barnes (Winter Haven, Fla./Haines City HS). Woody has proved her worth to the Bears and has showed she is deserving of the preseason honor as she has a .438 batting average and leads the A-Sun in hits (64) through 42 games this season.

Both teams are atop the A-Sun fielding ranks as Mercer ranks first and FGCU ranks second in putouts, assists and fielding double plays so far this season. FGCU should be able to find success against the Bears in the three-game set if the Eagle pitchers can be solid from inside the circle as Mercer is 0-13 this season when scoring two runs or less. Along with that, Mercer is 3-13 in games where the Bears have been unable to hit a homerun in 2013.

Batters for both squads also know how to work the count when facing opposing pitchers as FGCU ranks first in the A-Sun in walks drawn with 169, while Mercer ranks second in the league with 132.

Senior Mariah Fernandez (Cape Coral, Fla./North Fort Myers HS) has been a tough out for opposing pitchers as of late as the local product has reached base in 12 straight games with the streak having begun on March 13 at the FGCU Softball Complex in a 3-2 win over Maine.

FGCU has found offensive success in the second, third and fourth innings this season while keeping opposing batters in check as well. The Green and Blue have an 88-36 scoring advantage against opponents over that three inning stretch so far this season, a big reason why the Eagles have been able to get ahead early which has led to a 20-5 record when leading after four innings.

Leading the way for the FGCU offense to this point has been 2013 Preseason A-Sun Player of the Year Chelsea Zgrabik (Venice, Fla./Venice HS) who leads the Eagles in RBI (46), slugging percentage (.804) and homeruns (12), among other offensive categories.

The Eagles and Bears have had eight meetings all-time in the series with FGCU having won five of those to the three of Mercer. The two sides last met in a doubleheader at the FGCU Softball Complex on April 14, 2012 with the Green and Blue having won both games in five innings by run rule by scores of 9-1 and 10-2 respectively.

In-game Twitter updates (@FGCU_Softball), results and a recap from the day’s action will be available at www.FGCUATHLETICS.com.