Six Home Runs Help Softball Sweep Belmont in A-Sun Action
Saturday, April 07, 2012 | by Justin Glover (@Jglove3)
Photo by Dennis Snyder
Photo by Dennis Snyder
FGCU (24-21, 4-3 A-Sun)
Belmont (8-25, 3-4 A-Sun)
4/7/2012 | Nashville, Tenn. | Attendance: 62
Win: MORGAN (15-5) 5.041102
Loss: VIERRA (5-11) 5.089831
IRWIN (BEL) 211000
BYERS (BEL) 201100
GIFT (BEL) 201000
TURNER (BEL) 201000

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Six home runs from six different players powered the FGCU softball team to sweep Atlantic Sun foe Belmont (9-1, 12-6) on Saturday night at the Rose Park Field in Nashville, Tenn.

The Eagles are 25-21 (5-3 A-Sun) on the season, while Belmont falls to 8-26 (3-5 A-Sun).

In game one, FGCU used two three-run homers from sophomore Chelsea Zgrabik (Venice, Fla./Venice HS) and junior Kayla Gabel (Lakeland, Fla./State College of Florida) to run-rule Belmont, 9-1 in five innings. Zgrabik finished the game with a 3-for-3 effort with two runs scored and three RBI.

Freshman pitcher Shelby Morgan (High Springs, Fla./Santa Fe HS) went the distance, allowing four hits on one earned run with two strikeouts. Morgan (15-5) earned her team-leading 14th complete game of the season.

In the top of the first, the Eagles quickly put runs on the board as freshman Kelsey Carpenter (Oviedo, Fla./Hagerty HS) singled to right center to lead off the game. Carpenter stole second and junior Mariah Fernandez (Cape Coral, Fla./North Fort Myers HS) worked a walk to put runners on first and second. Sophomore Emily Lanier (St. Cloud, Fla./Harmony HS) laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners to second and third with one out. Zgrabik would deliver her team-leading sixth home run of the season to give FGCU a 3-0 lead.

The Bruins answered in the bottom of the first with a run to cut the lead to 3-1. With one out, Hannah Irwin singled through the right side. Ashley Byers lined an RBI single to left field, scoring Irwin with a close play at the plate to give Belmont their first run.

The Green and Blue added another run in the top of the second as Gabel walked to start the frame, followed by a single from freshman Stephanie Metzger (Naples, Fla./Palmetto Ridge HS). Sophomore Regan Knpaik (Land O’Lakes, Fla./Wiregrass Ranch HS) placed a sacrifice bunt down to move the runners to second and third. Carpenter reached on a fielder’s choice as Gabel was out at home on the play. With Fernandez batting, Carpenter stole her second base of the game and Metzger scored off a double steal to give the Eagles a 4-1 advantage.

The Eagles scored four more runs in the top of the third as Lanier doubled to left field to start the inning. Zgrabik singled to put runners at the corners with no outs. Sophomore Kirsten Bembnowski (Palm Harbor, Fla./East Lake HS) lined a sacrifice fly to second scoring Lanier from third for the fifth run of the contest. Gabel put the game out of reach with a three-run bomb to right field to give the Eagles a 8-1 lead.

FGCU made it 9-1 after an error from Belmont’s catcher Kim Johnson that allowed pinch-runner Stephanie Kujawa (Cooper City, Fla./Cooper City HS/Virginia Tech) to score from third. Zgrabik singled to start the inning and Kujawa came in to pinch-run. Kujawa would move to third on a stolen base and a groundout.

Morgan finished the bottom of the fifth in order to shut down Belmont in the opener. Belmont’s Mia Vierra (5-11) took the loss, allowing eight hits on eight earned runs.

In game two, the Green and Blue blasted five home runs and 12 hits to win a wild game against Belmont 12-6.

Four players finished with multiple hits including sophomore Jessica Barnes (Winter Haven, Fla./Haines City HS) (2-for3), Carpenter (3-for-5), Bembnowski (3-for-4) and Knapik (2-for-5). Carpenter and Bembnowski were triples away from hitting for the cycle.

In the top of the first, with two outs Lanier blasted her fifth home run of the season to give FGCU a 1-0 lead.

Belmont would quickly answer with a two out two-run home run from Ashley Byers to give the Bruins a 2-1 lead.

The Eagles would regain the lead in the top of the second as Gabel leadoff the frame with a walk. After two outs, Barnes doubled to left field to score Gabel to tie the game at 2-2. Carpenter would give FGCU the lead with a double to right center to score Barnes.

In the bottom of the fourth, Belmont tied the game with a solo home run from Byers, her second of the game.

FGCU would answer right back with a six-run top of the fifth off six hits and one error. Bembnowski and Fernandez led off the inning with back-to-back home runs to take a 5-3 lead. Sophomore Brittney Garabedian (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep HS) walked with one out, followed by a single up the middle from Knapik. After a wild pitch, Barnes lined a two-run single to give the Eagles a 7-3 advantage. Carpenter followed with a long home run to deep left center, her third of the season, to make it 9-3 FGCU.

The Bruins wouldn’t go away quietly by scoring three runs in the bottom of the fifth as Byers and Becca Gift picked up RBI in the inning. Redshirt senior Morgan Campen (Rougemont, N.C./Northern HS) came in relief of sophomore starter Amanda Josie (Estero, Fla./Estero HS) and worked out of a bases loaded jam, ending the inning on a ground out.

In the top of the sixth, the Green and Blue would add two more runs as Carpenter and Lanier earned RBI in the frame. Carpenter had an RBI single and Lanier a sacrifice fly to give FGCU a 11-6 lead.

The Eagles would score another run in the top of the seventh off a miscue from Belmont centerfielder Heather Turner, who dropped a fly ball off the bat of Garabedian allowing Fernandez to score.

Campen closed out the game in the bottom of the seventh, finishing with 2.1 innings of scoreless relief. Josie picked up her eighth win in the contest.

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