5/10/2012 | Spartanburg, S.C. | Attendance: 166
SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Sophomore Chelsea Zgrabik (Venice, Fla./Venice HS) blasted a walk off grand slam in the bottom of the eighth inning to help the FGCU softball team earn a comeback victory against Atlantic Sun rival Jacksonville, 8-4, Thursday in the second round of the 2012 A-Sun conference softball championship hosted by USC Upstate at Cyrill stadium.
The No. 1 seeded Eagles are now 35-22 on the season, while the fifth-seeded Dolphins fall to 31-24. FGCU has won three straight come-from-behind walk off wins against Jacksonville this season and improves its all-time series record to 9-2. The Green and Blue advance to play sixth-seeded Stetson on Friday, May 11 at 12:30 p.m.
The Eagles ended the game after sophomore Jessica Barnes (Winter Haven, Fla./Haines City HS) doubled over the third basemen’s head to lead off the bottom of the eighth inning. Pinch-hitter Lindsey Green (Bowling Green, Ky./Greenwood HS) laid down a sacrifice bunt that Jacksonville catcher threw to third and Barnes beat the tag to put runners on first and third with no outs. Freshman Stephanie Metzger (Naples, Fla./Palmetto Ridge HS) lined a shallow hit to right field to load the bases. Zgrabik came up with the clutch walk off grand slam to send FGCU into the winners circle.
“I came up the plate and kept thinking ‘Base Hit’ ‘Base Hit’ with a runner on third,” said Zgrabik. “We haven’t given up all season and it feels great to come up big for the team.”
Redshirt senior Morgan Campen (Rougemont, N.C./Northern HS) threw 1.2 scoreless innings to earn her fourth win of the season. Campen kept the Eagles in the game with her excellent relief work, allowing no hits with one strikeout. Freshman pitcher Shelby Morgan (High Springs, Fla./Santa Fe HS) started the game for FGCU and finished 6.1 innings, allowing four earned runs with four punch outs.
Jacksonville took the lead with two early runs in the top of the first inning as Codi Kelly led off with a single to left field. Kayla Ouellet reached on a fielder’s choice to put runners on first and second with no outs. Amanda Schmidt moved the runners over to second and third when Karson Tuck lined a single down the left field line to score Kelly and Ouellet to make it 2-0 Dolphins.
The Dolphins added another run in the third inning as Schmidt and Tuck had back-to-back singles to open the frame. Sarah Simon singled up the middle to plate Jacksonville’s third run of the game.
In the bottom of the third, junior Mariah Fernandez (Cape Coral, Fla./North Fort Myers HS) blasted a solo shot to right field, her eighth of the season, to cut the Dolphins lead to 3-1.
Jacksonville made it 4-1 thanks to a solo home run from Ronnie Gajownik in the top of the fifth inning.
In the bottom of the fifth, FGCU cut the lead to 4-2 after freshman Kelsey Carpenter (Oviedo, Fla./Hagerty HS) singled up the middle with two outs, scoring pinch-runner Kayla Ramey (Fort Myers, Fla./North Fort Myers HS/Seminole State College) from second.
With the Eagles down to their final three outs, sophomore Emily Lanier (St. Cloud, Fla./Harmony HS) worked a single to right center to start the inning. After pinch-runner Metzger advanced to second off a wild pitch, Zgrabik popped out to short for the first out. Sophomore Kirsten Bembnowski (Palm Harbor, Fla./East Lake HS) singled to put runners on first and third with one out. Carpenter lined an RBI single through the right side to score Metzger to make the score 4-3. After another pop out, FGCU was down to their final out when sophomore Brittney Garabedian (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep HS) roped a single up the middle allowing pinch-runner Stephanie Kujawa (Cooper City, Fla./Cooper City HS/Virginia Tech) to tag home plate to tie the game at 4-4.
FGCU hit hard A-Sun All-Conference second team member Brittany Eppley for eight hits on six earned runs to give her the loss.
Live stats, in-game Twitter updates (@FGCUSoftball), ASUN.TV, results and recaps will be available at www.FGCUAthletics.com.