FGCU No. 1 Seed in First-Ever A-Sun Softball Championship, Begins Play Thursday
Wednesday, May 09, 2012 | by Justin Glover (@Jglove3)
Photo by Dennis Snyder
Photo by Dennis Snyder
Jacksonville (31-24)
FGCU (35-22)
5/10/2012 | Spartanburg, S.C. | Attendance: 166
Win: CAMPEN (4-5) 1.200001
Loss: EPPLEY (10-9) 3.187625
KELLY (JU) 512000
TUCK (JU) 402200
SIMON (JU) 402100
GAJOWNIK (JU) 412101

FORT MYERS, Fla. – The FGCU softball team’s quest for their first-ever Atlantic Sun Conference tournament title and bid to an NCAA Regional begins this coming Thursday at 12:30 p.m., when they face the winner of Wednesday’s game between fourth-seeded Lipscomb and fifth-seeded Jacksonville in the A-Sun championship at Cyrill Stadium on the campus of third-seeded USC Upstate.

The Eagles are 34-22 (14-4 A-Sun) after sweeping UNF (3-2, 2-1) to clinch a share of the A-Sun regular season title with Kennesaw State last week. FGCU wins its second regular season title after winning one in 2008. The Green and Blue earned the No. 1 seed due to winning a common opponents tiebreaker thanks to a sweep of Jacksonville earlier this year.   

Heading into their first-ever postseason tournament, the Eagles have four players hitting over .300, led by sophomore Chelsea Zgrabik’s (Venice, Fla./Venice HS) .331 average on 49 hits, 10 doubles, 11 home runs 47 RBI and  a .635 slugging percentage. Sophomore Jessica Barnes (Winter Haven, Fla./Haines City) is second on the team with a .319 average on 46 hits, seven doubles, six home runs, 42 runs scored and 24 RBI, while classmate Emily Lanier (St. Cloud, Fla./Harmony HS)  is third on the team with a .308 mark on 41 hits, 16 runs, 11 doubles, five home runs, 25 RBI and .463 on base percentage. Rounding out the list is sophomore Kirsten Bembnowski (Palm Harbor, Fla./East Lake HS), who is hitting .302 on 45 hits, nine doubles, five home runs and 26 RBI. Zgrabik and Barnes were named to the A-Sun All-Conference first team, while Lanier and Bembnowski were selected to the A-Sun All-Conference second team.    

In the circle, A-Sun Pitcher of the Year freshman Shelby Morgan (High Springs, Fla./Santa Fe HS) has dazzled A-Sun opponents earning eight of her team-leading 20 wins during the conference season. Morgan leads the team with a 1.37 ERA, which ranks 20th in the nation, and has seven shutouts on the year.  Sophomore Amanda Josie (Estero, Fla./Estero HS) has had a breakout sophomore campaign, sitting second on the team with a 10-5 record and a 2.16 ERA in 123.1 innings.  

By way of being a top-two seed, the Eagles get a bye into the second day of competition. A win on Thursday would put them in the first game on Friday, at 12:30 p.m., while a loss to either the Dolphins or Bisons puts FGCU right back onto the field for the final game on Thursday, which is slated for 5:30 p.m.

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

The A-Sun Softball Championship will be broadcasted for free on ASun.TV, with the exception of the championship final which will appear on ESPN3. Full championship coverage can be found on the conference site: www.atlanticsun.org/softball/championship.

2012 Atlantic Sun Conference Softball Championship
Wednesday, May 9 – Day 1 (Coverage: ASun.TV)
Game 1 #4 Lipscomb vs. #5 Jacksonville – 3:00 p.m.
Game 2 #3 USC Upstate vs. #6 Stetson – 5:30 p.m.

Thursday, May 10 – Day 2 (Coverage: ASun.TV)
Game 3 #2 Kennesaw State vs. Winner of Game 2 – 10:00 a.m.
Game 4 #1 FGCU vs. Winner of Game 1 – 12:30 p.m.
Game 5 Loser of Game 1 vs. Loser of Game 2 – 3:00 p.m.
Game 6 Loser of Game 3 vs. Loser of Game 4 – 5:30 p.m.

Friday, May 11 – Day 3 (Coverage: ASun.TV)
Game 7 Winner of Game 3 vs. Winner of Game 4 – 12:30 p.m.
Game 8 Winner of Game 5 vs. Winner of Game 6 – 3:00 p.m.
Game 9 Winner of Game 9 vs. Loser of Game 7 – 5:30 p.m.

Saturday, May 12 – Day 4 (Coverage: ESPN3)
Game 10 Winner of Game 7 vs. Winner of Game 9 – 12:00 p.m.
Game 11 *If necessary* - 2:30 p.m.