FORT MYERS, Fla. – Redshirt junior Kayla Gabel (Lakeland, Fla./State College of Florida) blasted a walk off home run off the FGCU scoreboard to clinch the Atlantic Sun regular season title for the Eagles after sweeping A-Sun rival UNF (3-2, 2-1) on Thursday night at the FGCU Softball Complex.
The Eagles finish the regular season with a 34-22 (14-4 A-Sun) record, while UNF falls to 27-27 (7-11 A-Sun). FGCU also clinches the No. 1 seed heading into its first-ever A-Sun tournament thanks to a split between Jacksonville and Stetson earlier in the evening.
In game one, the Green and Blue used two home runs to earn a 3-2 victory against North Florida. Freshman pitcher Shelby Morgan (High Springs, Fla./Santa Fe HS) earned her team-leading 19th win of the season after throwing a complete game, allowing four hits on no earned runs with five strikeouts.
The Ospreys struck first with two runs in first inning off two errors to take an early 2-0 lead against FGCU. Morgan struck out Kaley Brosky, but reached on a wild pitch to start the inning. After two more strikeouts, Morgan walked Danica Mandarano with two outs to put runners on first and second. Marissa Thomas followed with a single to left field and two errors on the play allowed both runners to score.
FGCU answered with a solo shot from sophomore Chelsea Zgrabik (Venice, Fla./Venice HS) to cut UNF’s lead to 2-1. Zgrabik picked up her team-leading 11th home run of the season and A-Sun leading eighth blast in conference play.
The Eagles took a 3-2 lead off a two-run home run by junior Mariah Fernandez (Cape Coral, Fla./North Fort Myers HS), her seventh of the season, in the bottom of the third.
In game two, Gabel broke the tie in the bottom of the ninth to give the Eagles their 14th win in conference and give FGCU another sweep.
Sophomore Jessica Barnes (Winter Haven, Fla./Haines City HS) doubled to centerfield to lead off the contest and scored on a wild pitch to give FGCU an early 1-0 lead.
UNF tied the game at 1-1 after an RBI single from Chie Someya in top of the second inning. Mandarano singled and scored on the hit from Someya.
In the top of the sixth, with one out redshirt senior Morgan Campen (Rougemont, N.C./Northern HS) was called into the game to relieve sophomore starter Amanda Josie (Estero, Fla./Estero HS). Campen induced back-to-back strike outs to keep the game tied.
Morgan came in relief of Campen in the top of the eighth when UNF was threatening again with runners on but she got a ground out to end the inning.
Morgan picked up the win after throwing 1.1 innings and earned her 20th win of the season.
Live stats, in-game Twitter updates (@FGCUEagles), results and recaps will be available at www.FGCUAthletics.com.