Softball takes 2-of-3 in West Georgia Tournament
CARROLLTON, GA. – The Florida Gulf Coast University softball team had a strong first day of the West Georgia Softball Tournament as they went 2-1 against competition from the Gulf South Conference. The Eagles sandwiched a 4-1 win over West Alabama and a 3-1 victory over North Alabama around a tough 4-2 loss to fourth-ranked Alabama-Huntsville.
In the day’s first game, junior right-hander Sarah Backe (Flossmoor, Ill) tossed a one-hitter over six innings to shut down West Alabama. Backe had four strikeouts and did not allow a hit after the second inning, when UWA scored its lone run. She improves to a team-best 3-0 in the circle for the season. Freshman Melissa Geissler (Fort Myers, Fla.) picked up her first save with a scoreless seventh inning, including a game-ending strikeout.
The offense opened the game with a bang in the first inning, as junior Jessica Rouse (Jacksonville, Fla.) shot a rocket of a home run to center field. The Eagles took a 2-1 lead in the third inning with heads-up base running by junior Rachel Homan (Vero Beach, Fla.), who scored from third base on an error by the West Alabama catcher. The Eagles closed out the game with a huge two-run homerun to center field by freshman LeeAnne McDowell (Arcadia, Fla.) that scored senior Christine Beck (Hudson, Fla.) who led off the inning with a single. FGCU had seven hits in game one.
FGCU faced a formidable fourth-ranked Alabama-Huntsville team in their second game of the tournament. The Eagles played valiantly but could not overcome an early deficit in the 4-2 loss, their first loss to a ranked team in three games this spring. FGCU led the game early, as Rouse drove in Homan with a single in the first inning for a short-lived 1-0 lead.
UAH answered quickly as leadoff hitter Kristen Spencer homered off FGCU sophomore Rachel Edinger (Lakeland, Fla.) in the bottom of the inning. The Chargers manufactured three more runs in the fourth inning on three singles and a squeeze bunt. The Eagles had the tying run on base in the sixth inning and at the plate in the seventh inning, but could not score. Edinger battled from the circle, but to no avail, as she picked up the loss making to fall to 2-2. Rouse was 2-for-2 at the plate with two walks and one RBI.
The Eagles bounced back in their final game of the day. They scored three runs in the first inning on back-to-back doubles by Homan and Beck and a two-run single by junior Amanda Deen (Jacksonville, Fla.). Geissler was superb in the circle, scattering seven hits, two walks and a hit batsman and striking out three to record her first collegiate victory.
Beck and Deen had two hits each for FGCU. Sophomores Alisha Boyd (Naples, Fla.) and Lauren Barraco (North Fort Myers, Fla.) played exemplary defense to preserve the win.
FGCU (6-3 overall, 4-3 region) is scheduled to face West Georgia and Delta State in the tournament’s final day on Saturday.
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