(23-9, 4-0 A-Sun)
(8-17, 0-7 A-Sun)
3/23/2013 | Johnson City, Tenn. | Attendance: 65
(24-9, 5-0 A-Sun)
(8-18, 0-8 A-Sun)
3/23/2013 | Johnson City, Tenn. | Attendance: 100
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. – Taking its unblemished A-Sun record on the road, the FGCU softball team made sure it remained perfect by beating ETSU 5-0 in game one and 10-9 in an eight-inning game two to sweep the doubleheader on Saturday afternoon at Betty Bassler Field. FGCU is currently riding a nine-game winning streak that began back on March 13 against Maine.
The Eagles improve to 24-9 overall this season with an unblemished 5-0 A-Sun record to keep FGCU at the top of the A-Sun standings as the only team in the league yet to have fallen in conference play. The pair of losses drops ETSU to 8-18 on the year and 0-8 in A-Sun contests. The Green and Blue are now 12-0 all-time against the Bucs.
“Great job winning two tough games today,” said head coach David Deiros. “We continue to be a tough, resilient ball club that battles until the end. Our staff is very proud of our team.”
The first game of the twin billing was dictated by the starting pitchers of both squads as they dueled with opposing batters, keeping base runners from coming across through the first four innings.
After Tori Williams (Dunnellon, Fla./Dunnellon HS) led off the top of the fifth with an infield single, FGCU was in prime position to break the scoreless tie and bring across the first run of the contest. After taking the first pitch for a ball, Kelsey Carpenter (Oviedo, Fla./Hagerty HS) struck a double to right center field to provide a hit that was able to bring the speedster Williams around from first to put the visitors on top 1-0.
In need of insurance runs to remove any chance for late game heroics by ETSU, the Eagles looked to bring more runs across in the top of the seventh. With runners on first and second courtesy of a walk and an error, Kelsey Carpenter stepped to the plate looking for her third hit of the day in her fourth plate appearance. With no outs, Carpenter faced a 2-2 count and drove a pitch out of the park to bring three more runs across, giving FGCU a 4-0 advantage.
In her quest to prove why she is A-Sun Player of the Week and possibly why she should be selected for the honor for a second straight week, Mariah Fernandez (Cape Coral, Fla./North Fort Myers HS) homered to make it 5-0 heading into the home half of the seventh.
The Bucs placed a runner on first in the bottom of the seventh inning with one away, but starting pitcher Shelby Morgan (High Springs, Fla./Santa Fe HS) locked in to retire the next two batters and complete a five-hit shutout.
FGCU came out swinging to start off game two just as they finished game one on the Bucs’ home field. Base knocks from Chelsea Zgrabik (Venice, Fla./Venice HS) and Jessica Barnes (Winter Haven, Fla./Haines City HS) both drove in Eagle runners to put the visitors up 2-0 heading into the bottom of the first.
Looking to add to their lead, the Green and Blue used a Kelsey Carpenter three-run blast with a full count to make it 5-0 on Carpenter’s second home run which gave the sophomore outfielder seven RBI combined in the two games.
ETSU would answer with some scoring of their own in the home half of the third on a single up the middle and an Eagle miscue to make it a 5-2 game, cutting into the deficit.
With two outs and runners on first and second in the top of the fourth, the Eagle bats went back to work. A single from Chelsea Zgrabik plated another FGCU run and two straight walks added to the lead for the visitors with a 7-2 score.
Attempting to add to their lead over the Bucs, the Green and Blue used a Tori Williams double with a runner on second to grab a six-run edge, marking the largest lead of the game for FGCU. The Bucs would counter by scoring a run of their own to get the deficit back down to five runs, as they trailed 8-3, through five innings of play.
In the bottom of the sixth, ETSU would answer in a big way to void the multiple-run FGCU lead. Using a combination of timely hitting and base running, a six-run inning gave the Bucs a 9-8 lead, their first of the day over FGCU.
Finding themselves behind for the sixth time in its last nine games, FGCU would work to retake the lead on the road in the top of the seventh. With one out, Brittany Garabedian (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep HS) battled for the first nine pitches of the at bat and sent the 10th pitch to center field for a one-run shot to tie the game at nine and keep the Eagles alive.
With two runners in scoring position in the top of the eighth, FGCU did not need a base hit to bring across the go-ahead run as a wild pitch brought across pinch runner Kayla Ramey (Fort Myers, Fla./Seminole State College) to put the Eagles up 10-9.
For the second time in as many games, Shelby Morgan would finish the job for the Green and Blue as the 2012 A-Sun Player of the Year recorded the win at the conclusion of her 2.2 innings of work to improve to 12-5 this season.
FGCU will look to complete the three-game sweep of the Bucs when the series concludes on Sunday, March 24 at 12 p.m.
In-game Twitter updates (@FGCU_Softball), results and a recap from the day’s action will be available at www.FGCUATHLETICS.com.