Eagles Sweep Camels, Slide into Second Place
FORT MYERS, Fla. – The FGCU softball team pounded out 18 hits on Thursday night, scoring seven runs in each game of their doubleheader sweep of the Campbell Camels at the FGCU Softball Complex. The Eagles took game one, 7-2, before winning game two, 7-5. With the wins, the Blue and Green improve to 20-24 overall and 8-4 in A-Sun play, good for sole possession of second place. Campbell falls to 15-21-1 overall, 2-4 in conference.
The Camels took the lead in the first inning of game one, despite not hitting a ball out of the infield. A bunt single followed by a stolen base from Sarah Forgacs started the scoring threat. A passed ball and a walk set up runners on first and third. When the runner from first took off attempting to steal second, Forgacs came home to score the first run.
The Eagles responded with a pair of runs to take the lead in the bottom of the first. Lauran Ziegler (Palm Bay, Fla.) and Jessica Gary (Naples, Fla.) started the inning with back-to-back singles, and each moved up a base on a ground out. With two outs, Mariah Fernandez (Cape Coral, Fla.) singled through the right side, scoring both runners to give FGCU a 2-1 lead after one inning.
After Campbell tied the game in the top of the third, scoring on a throwing error, the Eagles broke the game open with a four-run third inning. Ziegler led off with a triple and Gary immediately followed with a towering home run to dead center field. Two batters later, Hayley O’Mara (Naples, Fla.) doubled, and would later move to third on a wild pitch. Fernandez followed with a walk, setting up runners on first and third. The Eagles then executed a double-steal to perfection, scoring O’Mara, and when the throw sailed into center field, Campbell’s center fielder misplayed it, allowing Fernandez to come all the way around to score. After three innings, the Blue and Green held a 6-2 advantage.
Nicole Boswell (Jacksonville, Fla.) drove in FGCU’s seventh run of the game with a fielder’s choice in the sixth inning. The Eagles would go on to win game one by a score of 7-2.
Gary finished the game 2-for-3 with a home run, two runs scored, and two RBIs, while Ziegler was 2-for-3 with a run scored. Fernandez went 2-for-2 with a walk, two runs scored, two RBIs, and two stolen bases.
Catherine McDaniel (Melbourne, Fla.) pitched a complete game for the win, improving to 9-11 on the season. McDaniel allowed two unearned runs on seven hits, walking two and striking out four.
In game two, the Camels again took the lead in a very odd first inning. Kelci Breaux (Okeechobee, Fla.) walked the leadoff batter, Robin Leathers, with two of the balls coming via illegal pitch calls. Leathers advanced to second and third base on two more illegal pitches, prompting FGCU head coach Dave Deiros to replace Breaux with McDaniel with nobody out. Leathers would score on a passed ball, causing Deiros to change catchers as well. Campbell would score two more runs on RBI singles, taking a 3-0 lead after one inning.
The Blue and Green answered back in the second inning, scoring three runs to tie the game. Tiffani Upchurch (Lake Wales, Fla.), Erin Olson (Naples, Fla.), and Boswell all singled back-to-back-to-back to set up bases loaded with nobody out. That brought up Stephanie Sullivan (Venice, Fla.), who had come in to pitch and also bat in the nine spot, the first time she has been listed as a hitter this season. In her first collegiate at-bat, Sullivan knocked a base hit up the middle, scoring Upchurch and Olson. Later in the inning, Sullivan scored on a fielder’s choice, tying the game at 3-3 after two innings.
The Eagles would take the lead with a four spot in the fourth inning. Ziegler led off with a popup that was dropped by the shortstop, and she would quickly steal second and third. Two batters later, Platt singled her home. O’Mara followed with a single and advanced to second on the throw as Platt moved over to third. Upchurch laced a base hit over the third baseman’s head, scoring Platt and O’Mara. Olson followed with a solid double, scoring Upchurch to give FGCU a 7-3 lead after the fourth.
Lauren Stephan drove home a pair of runs with a double in the fifth, cutting the lead to 7-5. But the Camels could not push across any more runs, as the Eagles took game two, 7-5.
Upchurch finished 3-for-3 with two runs scored and two RBIs, while Olson was 2-for-3 with a double, run scored, and RBI. Platt and Sullivan each finished 1-for-3 with a run scored and two RBIs.
Sullivan earned the win in relief, improving to 4-6 on the year. Sullivan allowed two runs on five hits in six innings of work. Sullivan also walked three and struck out two.
The Eagles will open up a six-game road swing with a doubleheader at Stetson on Sunday, April 11. Game one is slated for a 2 p.m. start.
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