Five Home Runs Help Eagles Sweep ETSU
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. – The FGCU softball team got back in the win column on Saturday, taking both ends of a doubleheader at ETSU in Johnson City, Tenn. A two-run home run in the seventh inning from Hayley O’Mara (Naples, Fla.) completed the comeback in game one, giving FGCU a 5-4 win. The Eagles pounded out 11 runs on nine hits (three home runs) in game two, winning by a score of 11-7.
With the wins, the Eagles record improves to 17-23 overall, 6-4 in the A-Sun. ETSU drops to 14-22 overall, 3-5 in conference play.
After the Lady Bucs took an early 1-0 lead, the Blue and Green quickly tied it up with a run in the top of the second. Mariah Fernandez (Cape Coral, Fla.) led off the inning with a walk, and immediately stole second. Tiffani Upchurch (Lake Wales, Fla.) doubled her home, tying the game at 1-1.
Katie Henderson gave ETSU the lead once again with a three-run shot in the bottom of the fourth, putting the Lady Bucs in front, 4-1.
O’Mara cut the deficit to 4-3 with a two-run home run in the top of the fifth, her second homer of the season.
ETSU maintained a one-run advantage until the top of the seventh inning. Jessica Gary (Naples, Fla.) led off with an infield single, her second hit of the game. After a groundout, O’Mara again connected for a two-run homer, her second of the game, giving the Blue and Green a 5-4 lead.
Catherine McDaniel (Melbourne, Fla.) allowed only a two-out walk in the bottom of the seventh, securing the 5-4 win for the Eagles.
McDaniel pitched a complete game, earning the win to improve to 8-11 on the season. McDaniel allowed four runs on seven hits, walking two and striking out two.
O’Mara finished the game 2-for-3 with a walk, two home runs, two runs scored, and four RBIs. Gary was 2-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored, and Nicole Boswell (Jacksonville, Fla.) finished 2-for-2.
In game two, the Eagles came out of the gates swinging, putting up nine runs in the first two innings. An infield single sandwiched in between two hit-by-pitches loaded the bases with nobody out in the top of the first. O’Mara was then hit by a pitch, scoring Ziegler. After a pitching change, Fernandez drilled the first pitch over the right field fence for her first career grand slam, giving the Eagles a 5-0 lead.
After the Lady Bucs scored once in the bottom of the first, the Blue and Green added four more in the top of the second. After two singles to open the inning, Courtney Platt (Greenville, Ohio) connected for a three-run homer to right, her conference-leading ninth home run of the season. Two batters later, Fernandez launched her second home run of the game, third of the season, putting FGCU in front, 9-1.
The lead grew to 10 runs in the fourth when the Eagles scored twice. Fernandez singled home Platt with the first run, and Erin Olson (Naples, Fla.) drove in a run with a ground ball, extending FGCU’s advantage to 11-1.
ETSU bounced back with three runs on six hits in the bottom half of the inning, cutting the lead to 11-4. The score remained that way until the bottom of the seventh, when the Lady Bucs scored three more times. Stephanie Sullivan (Venice, Fla.) came on in relief to record the final two outs of the game, giving the Eagles an 11-7 victory and the doubleheader sweep.
Fernandez finished the game 3-for-4 with two home runs, three runs scored, and a career-high six RBIs. Platt was 2-for-3 with a double, home run, three runs scored, and three RBIs. Gary recorded three hits in four trips, scoring twice.
Kelci Breaux (Okeechobee, Fla.) picked up the win, improving her record to 6-7. Breaux pitch 6.1 innings, allowing six runs (four earned) on 11 hits, walking one and striking out five.
The Eagles wrap up their six-game road trip with a doubleheader at FIU on Tuesday, April 6. Game one is set to begin at 5 p.m.
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