FORT MYERS, Fla. – The FGCU softball team has placed five individuals on the College Sports Madness Atlantic Sun (A-Sun) Preseason All-Conference Team, highlighted by sophomore Shelby Morgan (High Springs, Fla./Sante Fe HS) being named Preseason Pitcher of the Year and head coach David Deiros being named Preseason Coach of the Year.
Joining Morgan on the All-Conference First Team are juniors Kirsten Bembnowski (Palm Harbor, Fla./East Lake HS) and Emily Lanier (St. Cloud, Fla./Harmony HS) and junior Jessica Barnes (Winter Haven, Fla./Haines City HS). Junior Chelsea Zgrabik (Venice, Fla./Venice HS) was the only player from FGCU to be named to the Second-Team.
Deiros led the Eagles to a 38-24 record last season and its second A-Sun regular season title. In their first season of Division I postseason eligibility; the Eagles cruised through the Atlantic Sun Tournament Championship by going undefeated which earned them the league’s automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. In the NCAA Tournament, the Eagles earned an upset victory against fifth-seeded Florida at the Gainesville Regional and marked the first-ever NCAA Tournament victory for any sport at FGCU.
Morgan went 23-8 in 2012 with a 1.55 ERA, both of which were FGCU season records since the Division I era in 2008. Morgan also had a season record nine shutouts in 203 innings of work and 150 strikeouts, good for the second best mark since 2008. The High Springs, Fla. product racked up other postseason awards that included, A-Sun Tournament MVP, A-Sun Pitcher of the Year, A-Sun All-Conference first team, NFCA All-South Region second team and A-Sun All-Freshmen team.
Bembnowski started 58 of 61 games at third base with 133 assists, which ranked second on the team. She was fourth on the team with a .287 batting average on 48 hits, 10 doubles, six home runs and 27 RBI. The Palm Harbor, Fla. native had a clutch solo home run against fifth-seeded Florida to give the Eagles an early 1-0 lead and was selected to the A-Sun All-Conference second team. Bembnowski was also named to the A-Sun All-Academic team with a 3.39 GPA in English.
Lanier led the league in on base percentage (.525) during league play and was fifth in the A-Sun with a .378 batting average. The St. Cloud, Fla. local had eight multi-hit and multi-RBI games. Lanier was tied for third in the A-Sun with 12 doubles and was third on the team with a .311 batting average.
Barnes led the team with 25 stolen bases, while batting leadoff. Barnes had a breakout sophomore season leading the team with 46 runs scored and was second on the team with a .319 batting average. The Winter Haven, Fla. product had 10 multi-hit games and four multi-RBI contests. Her seven home runs were tied for third on the team and ranked third in the A-Sun with 33 walks.
Zgrabik led the team with a .329 batting average on 55 hits, 10 doubles, 13 home runs, 53 RBI and a .635 slugging percentage. The Venice, Fla. native had a memorable postseason in which she hit two walk-off winners in the A-Sun Tournament, including a game-winning grand slam to defeat Jacksonville, 8-4 in the quarterfinal round. Zgrabik was selected to the A-Sun All-Tournament team, a unanimous A-Sun All-Conference first team accolade and NFCA All-South Region second team honoree.
The softball team will open up the 2013 season when it travels to Miami, Fla. to play a double-header against FIU on February 13.
Field Position Player of the Year
Shelbie Robinson – USC Upstate
Pitcher of the Year
Shelby Morgan – FGCU
Freshman of the Year
Tanner Sanders – Lipscomb
Coach of the Year
David Deiros – FGCU
All-Conference First Team
P – Shelby Morgan – FGCU
P – Amanda Henderson – KSU
P – Hannah Alexander – USC Upstate
IF – Sharon Swanson – Kennesaw State
IF – Cheyenne Griffin – USC Upstate
IF – Kaylee Williams – Kennesaw State
IF – Kristen Bembnowski – FGCU
OF – Shelbie Robinson – USC Upstate
OF – McKenzie Woody – Mercer
OF – Jessica Barnes – FGCU
UTIL – Emily Lanier – FGCU
All-Conference Second Team
P – Ashley Anderson – Lipscomb
P – Kaylie Wallace – North Florida
P – Courtney Brandt – Stetson
IF – Chelsea Zgrabik – FGCU
IF – Casey Horner – ETSU
IF – Haley Elliot – Lipscomb
IF – Karson Tuck – Jacksonville
IF – Ashley Simon – Jacksonville
OF – Codi Kelly – Jacksonville
OF – Chrissy Morello – Stetson
OF – Hayley Reinfield – USC Upstate
UTIL – Gracey Aquirre – Lipscomb