2/24/2013 | Fort Myers, Fla. | Attendance: 313
2/24/2013 | Fort Myers, Fla. | Attendance: 259
FORT MYERS, Fla. – In the third and final day of the LaQuinta Inn at the Airport Spring Break Invitational, host FGCU won both its games to improve to 8-4 on the 2013 season Sunday afternoon at the FGCU Softball Complex.
The Green and Blue shutout Big Ten opponent Michigan State 6-0, followed by FGCU taking down St. Bonaventure 14-6 in six innings.
“Nice job by our kids today. We controlled what we needed to do today and that was nice all the way around,” said FGCU head coach David Deiros. “In the first game it was pitching and timely hitting and in the second game it was just about us surviving the storm.”
After hosting two tournaments over the course of the past two weekends, FGCU recorded an overall record of 7-3 in what was a 10-game homestand, capped off by a four-game win streak to end the stint.
Entering the contest between FGCU and Michigan State, the Spartans were outscoring opponents by a combined 18 runs through their first four games at the invitational, but the Eagles weren’t going to fall victim to defeat.
With the bases loaded in the top of the first, starting pitcher Jackie Owen (Cape Coral, Fla./Daytona State College) was in danger of surrendering the game’s first run, but did not waver as she and the rest of the FGCU defense escaped unscathed.
In the home half of the second inning, the Eagles made a threat of their own on the base paths as with runners on first and second by walks, Brittney Garabedian (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep HS) drove a ball down the left life line to bring in Emily Lanier (St. Cloud, Fla./Harmony HS) for the game’s first run to put the FGCU on top 1-0.
Owen continued to stay solid from inside the circle by putting an end to Michigan State scoring threats on multiple occasions throughout the game.
With two away in the bottom of the fifth inning and runners on first and second base Lanier delivered for the Eagles on a ball hit just out of reach of the center fielder to bring in two runs for the Green and Blue and give themselves a 3-0 cushion in their first game of the day.
Shelby Morgan (High Springs, Fla./Santa Fe HS) entered in relief of Owen after she tossed five shutout innings. Morgan recorded three straight outs in the top of the sixth, two of which were strikeouts with hitters swinging to put a strangle hold on the Spartans.
With no outs in the bottom of the sixth inning and two runners on base for FGCU, Jessica Barnes kept up her hot streak on a stand up triple to ring across two more runs to make it 5-0 FGCU. A Kelsey Carpenter single stroked into right field brought Barnes across to make it 6-0 and put the game away for the home team.
The 25 minute layoff between the end of the first game and start of the second was not enough to cool off FGCU as it started the top of the first by drawing back-to-back walks before Jessica Barnes struck a shallow blooper into center field to bring in one run. Chelsea Zgrabik followed Barnes by bringing in two more to give the host Eagles a 4-0 advantage early on.
The Bonnies came to play with hot bats of their own as they pulled even with FGCU in the bottom of the first with four runs of their own to knot it up at four runs each and make it a ballgame. After both squads scored two more in the second inning to keep it deadlocked at 6-6, the pitchers stepped up to throw a scoreless third inning.
FGCU came out swinging to start the fourth inning as a Kayla Gabel (Lakeland, Fla./George Jenkins HS) stand up triple to right center brought in two more runs as part of four-run fourth inning to put the Green and Blue on top 10-6.
With two away and a runner on in the top of the fifth inning, Zgrabik stepped into the batter’s box and crushed one deep over the wall in left center to put the Eagles up 12-6 and add insurance to an already sizeable FGCU lead. The homerun came less than 24 hours after the 2013 A-Sun Preseason Player of the Year cranked a ball over the scoreboard in left field against Albany.
Morgan came in to relieve game two starter Amanda Josie (Estero, Fla./Estero HS) in the bottom of the fifth as Josie was credited with the victory in the second win of the day for FGCU.
FGCU was not done on the base paths as they added to their lead in the top of the sixth courtesy of a Mariah Fernandez (Cape Coral, Fla./North Fort Myers HS) triple that brought two more runs across to make it 14-6 in favor of the Green and Blue. The game came to an end at the end of the sixth when the Green and Blue recorded the six-inning victory by mercy rule.
FGCU will return to action, but away from the FGCU Softball Complex’s friendly confines as they head north to Clearwater, Fla. for the USF Tournament that will run from Friday, Mar. 1 through Sunday, Mar. 3. The Eagles will play five games over the course of the three-day event before heading to the west coast for seven games in the state of California.
LaQuinta Inn at the Airport Spring Break Invitational Day Three Results
Sunday, Feb. 24
Minnesota def. Albany - 1-0
Villanova def. Michigan State – 5-1
FGCU def. Michigan State – 6-0
FGCU def. St. Bonaventure – 14-6 (6 inn.)