Softball Bounces Back to Take Two in Second Day of Invite
Saturday, February 23, 2013 | by Andrew Piper (@ADPiper7)
FGCU (6-4) looks to keep winning as it heads into day three as invitational host. (Photo by Dennis Snyder)
FGCU (6-4) looks to keep winning as it heads into day three as invitational host. (Photo by Dennis Snyder)
Villanova (3-1)
FGCU (5-4)
2/23/2013 | Fort Myers, Fla. | Attendance: 314
Win: OWEN (2-1) 7.043331
Loss: ANGELBELLO (0-1) 2.234433
PALMER (VU) 211010
SMETANA (VU) 411101
ORTEGA (VU) 201210
SMITH (VU) 301000

FORT MYERS, Fla. – After being held scoreless by Minnesota in day one of the LaQuinta Inn at the Airport Spring Break Invitational, host FGCU (6-4) rebounded to win both its games on Saturday at the FGCU Softball Complex against Villanova and Albany by scores of 7-3 and 6-0 respectively.

“That’s a nice recovery after yesterday. We were a little disappointed with the way we came out in all aspects and we did a lot better job today,” said head coach David Deiros. “Today wasn't easy as we played two very good teams, but I'm very pleased with the quality of effort that we put in and we were able to put some things together to beat two good teams.”

Jessica Barnes (Winter Park, Fla./Haines City HS) batted leadoff in the FGCU lineup in game one of the day for the Eagles and she made her at bats count. In her second plate appearance of the game, Barnes jacked a three-run homerun over the wall in left center field to break a scoreless ball game and give host FGCU a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the third.

Barnes reached base again in the fourth after drawing a walk and with the assistance of a base hit after stealing second, Barnes came across to give FGCU a 5-1 advantage and make the big bat of Barnes a deciding factor in the Eagles first win of the day.

The Wildcats moved in on the Eagles in the fifth as they pulled within two runs, but Jackie Owen (Cape Coral, Fla./Daytona State College) remained persistent from inside the circle as she escaped danger and went on to get the win in game one and record her second win of the season.

In the home half of the sixth inning, FGCU used small ball through base hits and stolen bases to bring two more runs across in game one and obtain a 7-3 lead that held until the final out was recorded in the seventh inning.

With two outs in the top of the fourth inning in game two against Albany, FGCU’s bats came alive and with the bases loaded Regan Knapik hit a ball into shallow center field and drove in runners from second and third base for the first runs of the game. The runs broke a scoreless tie and made it 2-0 in favor of the hosts, turned visitors for the invitational game.

The Eagles kept working to pad their lead over the Great Danes in the top of the sixth after Kirsten Bembnowski (Palm Harbor, Fla./East Lake HS) recorded a leadoff triple to be later driven in by a sacrifice fly and make it 3-0 in favor of FGCU.

Just when it seemed FGCU was done scoring for the day, Chelsea Zgrabik (Venice, Fla./Venice HS) launched a ball over the scoreboard in left field and into the southwest Florida night sky to bring in two more runs and set the score at 6-0 in favor of the Green and Blue.

The long bomb was part of a three-run seventh inning for the Eagles and gave starting pitcher Shelby Morgan (High Springs, Fla./Santa Fe HS) a sizeable cushion in her complete game shutout with FGCU sealing the 6-0 victory in the bottom of the seventh to finish the day unbeaten.

FGCU returns to action at the FGCU Softball Complex on Sunday, Feb. 24 as they will host the final day of the LaQuinta Inn at the Airport Spring Break Invitational. The Eagles will take on Michigan State at 1:30 p.m., followed by a matchup with St. Bonaventure at 3:45 p.m. to close out the three-day event. All-day passes are still available for Sunday with tickets costing $6 for adults and $3 for children ages 3 to 12.

For information on the LaQuinta Inn at the Airport Spring Break Invitational, including game times and participating teams, visit the Tournament Central page. To purchase tickets for the final day of the LaQuinta Inn at the Airport Tournament, call 239-590-7145 for more information.

LaQuinta Inn at the Airport Spring Break Invitational Day Two Results
Saturday, Feb. 23
Villanova def. Minnesota - 5-4
Michigan State def. Albany - 3-1
FGCU def. Villanova - 7-3
Minnesota def. St. Bonaventure - 7-4
FGCU def. Albany - 6-0
Michigan State vs. St. Bonaventure – 8-0 (5 inn.)