Eagles Fall Short at USF Under Armour Showcase
Saturday, March 13, 2010

FORT MYERS, Fla. – The FGCU softball team dropped a pair of games on Saturday at the USF Under Armour Showcase tournament in Clearwater, Fla. The Eagles rallied to force extra innings in game one, but lost in eight innings to New Mexico State, 7-5. In game two, Stony Brook downed FGCU, 6-3. With the losses, FGCU falls to 11-13 on the season.

The Aggies (13-8) jumped out to an early 4-0 lead, scoring twice in each of the first two innings. Kylie Randall, who finished the game 5-for-5, singled and scored in the first and doubled home a run in the second.

The Eagles came back to score three times in the bottom of the third, batting around in the process. Lauran Ziegler (Palm Bay, Fla.) and Jessica Gary (Naples, Fla.) each singled with one out, and both runners moved up a base when Courtney Platt (Greenville, Ohio) grounded out to second. Mariah Fernandez (Cape Coral, Fla.) followed with a solid single, scoring Ziegler. Hayley O’Mara (Naples, Fla.) then singled up the middle, scoring Gary. After a walk to Tiffani Upchurch (Lake Wales, Fla.), Catherine McDaniel (Melbourne, Fla.) drew a bases-loaded walk to score the third run of the inning, pulling FGCU to within a run at 4-3.

The Blue and Green continued to trail 4-3 until the bottom of the seventh inning. Down to their final out, Platt drew a walk to extend the game. After Platt advanced to second on a wild pitch, Fernandez came through with a single to left center field, scoring Platt to tie the game.

In the eighth, NMSU rallied with two outs to score three runs. A two-run single from Hoku Nahora and an RBI single from Ashley Maroda gave the Aggies a 7-4 lead.

O’Mara doubled to lead off the bottom half of the inning, scoring Fernandez, who was placed on second base by virtue of the international tiebreaker rule. New Mexico State’s Torrey Schroeder was able to retire the next three batters in order, securing the 7-5 victory for the Aggies.

Four Eagles collected two hits each in the game, including Fernandez, who was 2-for-3 with two runs scored and two RBIs. O’Mara also drove in two runs, finishing 2-for-4 with a double.

McDaniel pitched all eight innings, taking the loss to fall to 5-6 on the year. McDaniel allowed seven runs (six earned) on 16 hits, walking one and striking out six.

In game two, O’Mara drove in Gary with a sacrifice fly to put FGCU in front, 1-0, in the top of the first inning.

Stony Brook (4-6) came back with a pair of runs in the bottom of the second, using back-to-back two-out RBI singles to take the lead. The Seawolves tacked on another run in the third, giving SBU a 3-1 lead through three innings.

The Eagles trimmed the lead to 3-2 in the fourth when Upchurch singled home O’Mara with nobody out. Stony Brook would extend their advantage with two runs in the bottom half of the inning, taking a 5-2 lead into the fifth inning.

The Seawolves gifted a run to FGCU in the fifth, pulling the Eagles to within two runs at 5-3. With runners on first and second, O’Mara hit a pop-up towards short center field. SBU shortstop Vicki Kavitsky dropped the pop-up, loading the bases with one out. Two batters later, Stony Brook’s Alyssa Struzenberg threw a wild pitch, allowing Gary to score from third base.

A pair of passed balls proved costly for the Blue and Green in the bottom of the fifth, as the Seawolves added an insurance run to take a 6-3 lead. Struzenberg would not allow hit over the final two innings, and Stony Brook held on for the 6-3 win.

Gary finished the game 2-for-4 with two runs scored, while O’Mara and Upchurch each picked up one hit and one RBI apiece. Stephanie Sullivan (Venice, Fla.) took the loss, dropping to 3-3 on the season. Sullivan gave up five runs (three earned) over four innings of work, allowing six hits and three walks. Kelci Breaux (Okeechobee, Fla.) pitched two innings of relief, allowing one unearned run on two hits, striking out three.

The Eagles will wrap up play at the USF Under Armour Showcase tomorrow morning against Penn State. First pitch is set for 9 a.m.  Click here for live stats for the FGCU-Penn State game.