Minnesota Slips Past Eagles
Thursday, February 25, 2010 | by Carl Bleich

FORT MYERS, Fla. – The FGCU softball team dropped its home opener Thursday night 3-2 to Minnesota in the first game of the FGCU Spring Break Invitational at the FGCU Softball Complex.

The Eagles (2-7) left eight runners on base and made three defensive errors which led to their seventh straight defeat.

FGCU opened a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning after three straight singles. Seniors Lauran Ziegler (Palm Bay, Fla.), Hayley O’Mara (Naples, Fla.), and Jessica Gary (Naples, Fla.) all reached base on a hit and Gary’s base knock scored Ziegler. The Eagles had runners on second and third with nobody out but were unable to push any more runs across in the first frame.

Minnesota (5-7) grabbed a 2-1 lead in the top of the second inning after Sammie Howard’s 2-run single. The Golden Gophers extended that lead to 3-1 in the third inning when Abby Rehberger scored on a wild pitch.

FGCU trimmed Minnesota’s lead to 3-2 in the bottom of the sixth inning. Senior Catherine McDaniel (Melbourne, Fla.) ripped a double, FGCU’s first hit since the first inning, to open the inning. McDaniel was replaced at second base by pinch runner Gina Galvin (Orlando, Fla.).

Galvin hustled home on a wild pitch to bring FGCU within one.

The Eagles had a chance to tie in the bottom of the seventh inning but junior Courtney Platt (Naples, Fla.) grounded out with a runner in scoring position to end the game.

McDaniel (1-4) was the losing pitcher for FGCU despite throwing seven innings, allowing five hits, two earned runs and striking out five batters.

Hayley O’Mara finished 2-for-4 and Jessica Gary was 1-for-3 with an RBI.

The Eagles continue play in the FGCU Spring Break Invitational tomorrow night when they host Connecticut at the FGCU Softball Complex at 6 p.m. Tournament play begins at 9 a.m. with Georgia Southern taking on St. Francis (PA).