Florida Gulf Coast
5/9/2013 | Nashville, Tenn. | Attendance: 0
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – With its backs against the wall in day two of the 2013 Atlantic Sun Championship, the No. 3 FGCU softball team (36-17, 16-7 A-Sun) collected a walk-off win over No. 5 Kennesaw State in the first elimination game of the double-elimination tournament on Thursday afternoon at Draper Diamond.
After letting two leads slip away early on in the contest, the Eagles kept their composure to break a tie ball game in the bottom of the seventh inning on a two-run long ball to avoid elimination by winning 6-4.
“That is our 13th walk-off win of the year and that is testimony to how well our kids persevere and how resilient they are,” said head coach David Deiros.
Junior Amanda Josie (Estero, Fla./Estero HS) got the start from inside the circle for the Green and Blue after entering in relief in the first tournament game for the Eagles against No. 6 Stetson on Wednesday, May 8. Josie started the day locked in against Kennesaw State batters by retiring the first five Owl batters in order on 10 pitches, with eight of those pitches being strikes.
In the home half of the first inning, junior Jessica Barnes (Winter Haven, Fla./Haines City HS) faced a 1-0 count and drove the second pitch she saw down the left field line and off of the foul pole for a leadoff home run that put FGCU out front 1-0.
Kennesaw State would answer with a one-run shot of their own, in the top of the third, with a home run off of the Draper Diamond scoreboard in center field to put the Owls on the board and knot the game up at one run apiece.
Base hits from Tori Williams (Dunnellon, Fla./Dunnellon HS) and Kelsey Carpenter (Oviedo, Fla./Hagerty HS) had FGCU threatening in the bottom of the third inning, forcing a Kennesaw State pitching change. With two outs and runners on second and third, Brittney Garabedian (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep HS) busted the game open with a three-run home run to left center to put the Eagles up 4-1, while collecting her second home run of the tournament.
Josie continued to find success from inside the circle as the Estero, Fla. product limited the Owls to one run on five hits through the first four innings of play. Josie located the strike zone often and used it to her advantage as 26 of her first 37 pitches went for strikes.
The Owls looked to close the gap in the top of the fifth as they faced a three-run deficit in a game that was a rematch of the 2012 A-Sun Championship game that the Eagles won 8-0 in six innings. Kennesaw State got a one-out triple and made sure to capitalize on the opportunity by using a deep fly to center field for the sacrifice, scoring one and cutting the FGCU lead to 4-2.
With two outs in the top of the sixth inning and runners on first and second, a double into the outfield gap allowed Kennesaw State to bring across two runs to tie the game at 4-4.
Finding themselves in a win or go home situation in the bottom of the seventh with two outs and in need of one run to walk-off winners, Kelsey Carpenter (Oviedo, Fla./Hagerty HS) once again came through in the clutch for the Green and Blue. With Williams on first after drawing a walk, Carpenter raked a 1-1 pitch over the wall in right field to lift FGCU to a 6-4 win over Kennesaw State, helping her Eagles squad survive elimination and advance.
“I knew I hit the ball well, but I wasn’t sure if it was a home run,” said Carpenter postgame. “I knew if I didn’t do it someone else was going to do it for us. I didn’t feel any pressure. I just wanted to hit the ball hard.”
With FGCU taking the game over Kennesaw State to send the Owls home from the A-Sun tournament, the Eagles now lead the all-time series between the two sides 11-4 through 15 meetings.
The Green and Blue will now take on No. 1 North Florida on Friday, May 10 at 4:00 p.m. EST in another elimination game. If FGCU defeats the Ospreys, it will have a short turnaround before playing on Friday, May 10 at 6:30 p.m. EST in a win or go home scenario.
The game for the Eagles can be viewed live and free of charge on ASun.TV with tickets still available for purchase ($10 for daily admission and $25 for a tournament pass).
In-game Twitter updates (@FGCU_Softball), results and a recap from the day’s action will be available at www.FGCUATHLETICS.com.