FGCU Uses Five Home Runs to Sweep ETSU; Clinches A-Sun Tournament Berth
Friday, April 20, 2012 | by Justin Glover (@Jglove3)
Photo by Dennis Snyder
Photo by Dennis Snyder
FGCU (30-21)
ETSU (10-28)
4/20/2012 | Johnson City, Tenn. | Attendance: 111
Win: MORGAN (18-5) 5.030006
Loss: WOLFF (4-15) 1.224332
BAIRD (ETSU) 201000
DELISA (ETSU) 201000

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. – Sophomore Chelsea Zgrabik (Venice, Fla./Venice HS) hit two home runs in game one and classmate Kirsten Bembnowski (Palm Harbor, Fla./East Lake HS) smashed two home runs in the doubleheader to  power the FGCU softball team to sweep Atlantic Sun foe ETSU (10-0, 8-2) on Friday night at the Betty Basler Field in Johnson City, Tenn.  

The Eagles are 31-21 (11-3 A-Sun) on the season, while ETSU falls to 10-29 (0-12 A-Sun). With the sweep over the Bucs, FGCU has risen to first place in the A-Sun thanks to a loss from Kennesaw State against Lipscomb earlier in the evening and have clinched their first-ever A-Sun tournament berth.  

In game one, FGCU used two homers, including a grand slam from Zgrabik to run-rule ETSU, 10-0, in five innings. Zgrabik finish the game with a 2-for-3 effort with six RBI, which was one RBI short of tying the school record for most in a game. The Eagles also picked up two other home runs from Bembnowski and junior Mariah Fernandez (Cape Coral, Fla./North Fort Myers HS).    

Zgrabik is hitting .432 in conference games with five doubles, six home runs, 21 RBI and a .955 slugging percentage.

Freshman pitcher Shelby Morgan (High Springs, Fla./Santa Fe HS) went the distance for her seventh shutout of the season, allowing just three hits. Morgan (18-5) earned her team-leading 17th complete game of the season with six strikeouts.

In the top of the second, FGCU scored seven runs on three hits to take a commanding lead. Bembnowski blasted a solo shot, her fourth of the season, to start the inning. Junior Kayla Gabel (Lakeland, Fla./State College of Florida) earned her tenth double of the season to left field. With one out, sophomores Regan Knapik (Land O’Lakes, Fla./Wiregrass Ranch HS) and Jessica Barnes (Winter Haven, Fla./Haines City HS) worked back-to-back walks to load the bases. A passed ball allowed Gabel to score from third, followed by another walk to sophomore Emily Lanier (St. Cloud, Fla./Harmony HS) to score Knapik. Zgrabik hammered a grand slam to left field, her eighth of the season, to give the Eagles a 7-0 lead.

The Eagles added three more runs in the top of the fourth as Fernandez lined a home run down the right field line for the eighth run of the game. Lanier reached on a fielding error by the second baseman and Zgrabik followed with her second home run of the game, a two-run shot to left field for her ninth of the season.

In the bottom of the fifth, ETSU threaten to score with runners on second and third with two outs, but Morgan got Thompson to strike out swinging to end the threat.

In game two, FGCU used eight runs on 12 hits, including another home run from Bembnowski to sweep the doubleheader against ETSU, 8-2.  

In the top of the second, the Eagles scored three runs after Bembnowski doubled to left center with one out. Freshman Kelsey Carpenter (Oviedo, Fla./Hagerty HS) singled to left field to put runners on second and third. Gabel worked a walk to load the bases, but sophomore Brittney Garabedian (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep HS) reached on a fielder’s choice as Bembnowski was forced out at home. Knapik roped a clutch two-out double to left center to plate three runs to give the Eagles a 3-0 lead.

FGCU added another run in the top of the third when Zgrabik lined an RBI double down the left field line to score Fernandez, who reached on an error to start the inning.

The Eagles scored their fifth run of the game when with two outs Garabedian singled to start the rally. Knapik singled to second base, while Barnes scored Garabedian with an RBI single.

The Green and Blue put the game out of reach with three more runs in the top of the seventh to take a 8-0 lead over the Bucs. Lanier doubled to right center to lead off the frame, while Zgrabik walked to put runners on first and second with no outs. Bembnowski delivered a three-run home run to left field, her fifth of the season, to give the Eagles a 8-0 lead.

ETSU broke the shutout in the bottom of the seventh when Everett singled to start the inning, followed by a two-run home run from Hensley to left center to cut the Eagles lead to 8-2. Redshirt senior Morgan Campen (Rougemont, N.C./Northern HS) came in relief of sophomore starter Amanda Josie (Estero, Fla./Estero HS) and recorded the final three outs. Josie improved to 10-5 throwing six innings, allowing just two earned runs on six hits with one strikeout.      

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