FGCU Shuts Out Kennesaw State, Drops Game Two in A-Sun Opener
Wednesday, March 07, 2012 | by Justin Glover (@Jglove3)
Photo by Dennis Snyder
Photo by Dennis Snyder
Kennesaw State (10-9, 0-1 ASUN)
FGCU (9-12, 1-0 ASUN)
3/7/2012 | Fort Myers, Fla. | Attendance: 89
Kennesaw State0000000031
Win: MORGAN (6-2) 7.030006
Loss: Amanda Henderson (4-4) 6.0420413
Jessica Cross (KSU) 301000
Sharon Swanson (KSU) 301000
Jensen Hackett (KSU) 201000
BARNES (FGCU) 302000

FORT MYERS, Fla. – The FGCU softball team picked up a 2-0 win on the strength of freshman pitcher Shelby Morgan’s (High Springs, Fla./Santa Fe HS) three-hit shutout in game one, before dropping a 3-1 decision to visiting Kennesaw State in the Atlantic Sun opener on Wednesday night at the FGCU Softball Complex.

The Eagles are 9-13 (1-1 A-Sun) on the season, while Kennesaw State is 11-9 (1-1 A-Sun).

In game one, FGCU received another stellar outing from Morgan who threw her sixth complete game and third shutout of the season in a 2-0 win for the Eagles. Morgan finished the game scattering just three hits with zero walks and six strikeouts to improve to 6-2 on the year.

The Green and Blue started the scoring in the bottom of the as sophomore Brittney Garabedian (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep HS) singled to right center to lead off the inning. After a failed bunt attempt, junior Mariah Fernandez (Cape Coral, Fla./North Fort Myers HS) worked a walk to put runners on first and second with one out. Redshirt junior Kayla Gabel (Lakeland, Fla./State College of Florida) struck out swinging for the second out. After a wild pitch from Kennesaw State’s starting pitcher Amanda Henderson moved the runners up to second and third. With sophomore Regan Knapik (Land O’Lakes, Fla./Wiregrass Ranch HS) batting, a passed ball and a wild throwing error by the Owls’ catcher Lindsay Vollmer allowed Garabedian and Fernandez to score to give the Eagles a 2-0 lead. Knapik would walk and sophomore Jessica Barnes (Winter Haven, Fla./Haines City HS) doubled to shallow right to put runners on first and third with two outs. FGCU loaded the bases after a hit by pitch from freshman Kelsey Carpenter (Oviedo, Fla./Hagerty HS), but sophomore Emily Lanier (St. Cloud, Fla./Harmony HS) struck out to end the threat.

The Eagles’ defense was stellar in the contest as in the top of the fourth, Sharon Swanson singled up the middle with one out. Bianca Durant grounded into a double play as Garabedian taggd Swanson and threw out the speedy Durant at first. Also in the Owl’s sixth inning, Jensen Hackett singled through the right side to lead off the inning, but Natalie Rhodes lined into a double play after Garabedian made a diving catch and threw out Hackett at first.

In the bottom of the sixth, FGCU had a chance to increase its lead after sophomore Kirsten Bembnowski (Palm Harbor, Fla./East Lake HS) singled with two outs. Fernandes was hit by a pitch and junior Stephanie Kujawa (Cooper City, Fla./Cooper City HS/ Virginia Tech) walked to load the bases, but pinch-hitter Kayla Ramey (Fort Myers, Fla./North Fort Myers HS/Seminole State College) struck out looking to end the inning.

Morgan finished off the Owls 1-2-3 in the top of the seventh to earn the first A-Sun win of the season for the Eagles.Henderson was the tough luck loser for Kennesaw State allowing no earned runs with 13 punch outs and four walks.

In game two, the Eagles scored first again after Carpenter lined a one-out single to right center, followed by a foul out by Lanier to bring up sophomore Chelsea Zgrabik (Venice, Fla./Venice HS) with two outs. Zgrabik delivered a shot to center field that Kennesaw State’s Natalie Rhodes mishandled leading to a two-base error allowing Carpenter to score from first to give FGCU a 1-0 lead.

Junior Britney Pugh (Pembroke Pines, Fla./St. Petersburg College) started for the Eagles throwing three innings, allowing just four hits with two walks and two strikeouts.

In the bottom of the fourth, Zgrabik doubled to lead off the frame for the Eagles. Ramey came into the game to pinch-run and advanced to third off a sacrifice bunt from Garabedian to move Ramey to third with one out. Bembnowski hit a shot to centerfield that was caught by Rhodes who fired the ball to the plate to beat Ramey to end the inning.

In the top of the fifth, sophomore Amanda Josie (Estero, Fla./Estero HS) began her second inning of relief and allowed Carly Van Auken to single to lead off the inning. Jessica Cross singled through the right side to put runners on first and second for Kennesaw State. Sharon Swanson erased the Eagles lead with her A-Sun leading ninth home run of the season to left field to give the Owls a 3-1 advantage.

In the bottom of the fifth, the Green and Blue had an opportunity to cut into the Owl’s lead after Fernandez singled through the right side to start the frame. Fernandez advanced to second off a bunt, followed by a single to the pitcher from Knapik to put runners at first and third with one out. Barnes would smoke a shot to the second basemen as Knapik was ruled out for interference with the fielder, which caused a dead ball not allowing Fernandez to score from third and putting a second out on the board. After the wild play, Carpenter would foul out to the right fielder to end the threat.

FGCU received a leadoff double by Lanier in the bottom of the sixth, followed by a walk from Zgrabik to put runners on first and second with no outs. Freshman Stephanie Metzger (Naples, Fla./Palmetto Ridge HS) pinch-ran for Lanier and advanced to third off a wild pitch from the Owls’ pitcher Jessica Cross. Cross would strike out Garabedian before being pulled for relief pitcher Abby Mixon with one out. With runners on second and third, Bembnowski popped up and Fernandez struck out looking to end the inning.

In the final inning, the Eagles got a leadoff walk from pinch-hitter Kujawa, followed by wild pitch to put Kujawa in scoring position. Gabel would pinch-hit but struck out swinging to bring up Barnes who grounded out to the shortstop. Carpenter would appeared to get hit by a pitch but was ruled a foul and struck out swinging to end the wild game for FGCU.

The Green and Blue remain home to host the LaQuinta Inn & Suites FGCU Spring Break Tournament on March 9-11 at the FGCU Softball Complex.

Live stats, in-game Twitter updates (@FGCUEagles), results and recaps will be available at www.FGCUAthletics.com.