Walk Off Magic Leads Softball to A-Sun Sweep of Jacksonville
Tuesday, April 17, 2012 | by Justin Glover (@Jglove3)
Photo by Dennis Snyder
Photo by Dennis Snyder
Jacksonville (26-20, 7-6 A-Sun)
FGCU (28-21, 8-3 A-Sun)
4/17/2012 | Fort Myers, Fla. | Attendance: 120
Win: MORGAN (17-5) 11.052005
Loss: SIGREST (15-10) 10.2532710
TUCK (JU) 402000
BARNES (FGCU) 311221
LANIER (FGCU) 201010

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Two comeback victories and walk off hits lead the FGCU softball team to a sweep of Atlantic Sun foe Jacksonville (3-2, 3-2) on Tuesday night at the FGCU Softball Complex. The Eagles are now tied for first in the A-Sun with Kennesaw State at 9-3 in conference.

The Eagles are now 29-21 (9-3 A-Sun) on the season, while the Dolphins fall to (26-21, 7-7 A-Sun). The Green and Blue have won six straight conference games and improve their all-time series record to 8-2 against Jacksonville.

In game one, FGCU won a thrilling comeback victory after trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the 11th inning as sophomore Tori Williams (Dunnellon, Fla./Dunnellon HS) lined a game-winning walk off single to left field to complete the 3-2 win.

Freshman pitcher Shelby Morgan (High Springs, Fla./Santa Fe HS) was spectacular throwing a complete game, allowing five hits on zero earned runs with five strikeouts. Morgan (17-5) was charged with two unearned runs after throwing all 11 innings. Jacksonville’s Sarah Sigrest (15-10) took the tough loss, allowing five hits on two earned runs in 10.2 innings.

In the bottom of the third with two outs, sophomore Jessica Barnes (Winter Haven, Fla./Haines City HS) hammered her sixth home run of the season to give the Eagles a 1-0 lead.

The Dolphins tied the game at 1-1 in the top of the fourth when Kayla Ouellet singled to the shortstop to start the frame. With Amanda Schmidt batting, Ouellet stole her 30th base of the season to put her in scoring position. Ouellet would score off a throwing error from the catcher and another error from the centerfielder to give Jacksonville an unearned run.

The two teams would remain tied at 1-1 through nine innings, allowing the international tiebreaker rules to come into effect in the top of the 10th.

The Dolphins came away with no runs in the top of the 10th after Jacey Warner flied out to right field to move the runner to third with one out. Sarah Simon grounded out and Gajownik grounded out to third to end the inning.

The Eagles had a chance to win the game in the bottom of the 10th when Williams was placed on second and sophomore Emily Lanier (St. Cloud, Fla./Harmony HS) was hit by a pitch to start the frame. FGCU would leave them stranded after freshman Kelsey Carpenter (Oviedo, Fla./Hagerty HS) fouled out to left field on a nice play from Warner.

In the top of the 11th, the Dolphins took the lead after Codi Kelly doubled to left center to score Gajownik from second to give Jacksonville a 2-1 lead. Morgan was able to shut down the scoring with a ground out and a strikeout to end the inning.

The Green and Blue started the bottom of the 11th with a fielders’ choice from pinch-hitter Stephanie Metzger (Naples, Fla./Palmetto Ridge HS) to put runners on first and third with no outs. Jacksonville’s third basemen Amanda Schmidt tried to get the lead runner out on the bunt but Carpenter slid under the tag. Junior Mariah Fernandez (Cape Coral, Fla./North Fort Myers HS) reentered to run and stole second base to put runners on second and third with no outs. Sophomore Brittney Garabedian (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep HS) worked a walk to load the bases and classmate Regan Knapik (Land O’Lakes, Fla./Wiregrass Ranch HS) popped up to the short stop. Barnes battled to a tough sacrifice fly to right center on an eight pitch at bat to tie the game at 2-2. Williams followed with the dramatic walk off single to left field to score Fernandez from third.

In game two, with the Eagles down to their last strike junior Kayla Gabel (Lakeland, Fla./State College of Florida) roped a pinch-hit two-run double to the gap in left center to score the tying runs in the bottom of the seventh. Barnes followed with a single to right field to give FGCU a second straight walk off win and give the Green and Blue a sweep against the visiting Dolphins.

Sophomore Kirsten Bembnowski (Palm Harbor, Fla./East Lake HS) finished 2-for-3 with two singles to pace the Eagles.

After three scoreless innings, Jacksonville took an early lead in the top of the fourth when Ashley Simon singled, followed by a two-run home run that just fell over the fence in left center by Karson Tuck to give the Dolphins a 2-0 lead.

In the top of the fifth, the Dolphins worked a one-out single from Melissa Morales, followed by a walk from Kelly and another bunt single from Ouellet to load the bases. FGCU kept the game at 2-0 when Knapik turned a pretty 6-3 double play to get the Eagles out of the jam.

Jacksonville was threatening in the top of the seventh as Gajownik singled to right field to start the inning. Morales sacrificed Gajownik over to second on a bunt, followed by a single from Kelly. Redshirt senior Morgan Campen (Rougemont, N.C./Northern HS) came in relief of sophomore starter Amanda Josie (Estero, Fla./Estero HS). Ouellet hit a bouncing ball to Garabedian at second who smartly threw home to nail Gajownik at the plate for the second out.  Catcher Lindsey Green (Bowling Green, Ky./Greenwood HS) then threw back to second getting Ouellet in a run-down, but Lanier saw Kelly racing around third trying to score and Green tagged her at the plate for a wild 2-6-3-2 putout to end the inning.

The Eagles had one last chance in the bottom of the seventh as Bembnowski singled up the middle to start the rally. Carpenter reached on a fielders’ choice with Bembnowski out at second for the first out. Garabedian singled through the left side to put runners on first and second with one out. After a strikeout, FGCU got runners on second and third thanks to a double steal during Gabel’s at bat. Gabel scored the clutch hit to tie the game and Barnes followed with the game-winning single to seal the victory.

Campen earned the win to improve to 2-5, recording two outs in the top of the seventh. Jacksonville’s Brittany Eppley takes the loss to fall to 8-8 on the season.

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