Morgan's Shutout Effort Sends FGCU to A-Sun Championship; Defeats Stetson
Friday, May 11, 2012 | by Justin Glover (@Jglove3)
Photo by ASun Photos; No. 1 Eagles March to A-Sun championship game on ESPN3 Saturday at Noon
Photo by ASun Photos; No. 1 Eagles March to A-Sun championship game on ESPN3 Saturday at Noon
Stetson (26-21)
FGCU (36-22)
5/11/2012 | Spartanburg, S.C. | Attendance: 106
Win: MORGAN (21-6) 7.040032
Loss: OWEN (15-11) 5.063342
OWEN (STET) 302000
BOYD (STET) 202010
KNAPIK (FGCU) 211000

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Freshman pitcher Shelby Morgan (High Springs, Fla./Santa Fe HS) threw a four-hit shutout and junior Mariah Fernandez (Cape Coral, Fla./North Fort Myers HS) had a clutch three-run double to defeat Atlantic Sun foe Stetson, 3-0, Friday in the winners bracket final of the 2012 A-Sun conference softball championship hosted by USC Upstate at Cyrill stadium.   

“Stetson is so technically sound and so fundamentally sound, it’s just going to come down to who’s going to get the break,” said head coach Dave Deiros. “We got the break and took advantage of it. Today we were a lot cleaner as we did our jobs and we were focused on taking care of ours. We are playing with confidence and we are playing with a no-quit attitude. If we do the things that we are capable of doing, I think we are going to be in good shape.”

The No. 1 seeded Eagles are now 36-22 on the season, while the sixth-seeded Hatters fall to 26-21. With the win, FGCU advances to the A-Sun Championship game on Saturday at noon. Stetson plays for a chance at the title game on Friday at 5:30 p.m., taking on the winner of second-seeded Kennesaw State and fifth-seeded Lipscomb.

The A-Sun Pitcher of the Year Morgan earned her 21st win of the season and eighth shutout after allowing just four hits with two strikeouts. Stetson’s Meredith Owen picked up the loss after tossing five innings, allowing six hits and three earned runs.

Sophomore Chelsea Zgrabik (Venice, Fla./Venice HS)went 1-for-2 in the contest extending her hitting streak to 12 games. Freshman Kelsey Carpenter (Oviedo, Fla./Hagerty HS) picked up her third hit of the tournament with a single.  

FGCU broke open the game with a three-run bottom of the fourth thanks to a bases-clearing double from Fernandez to give the Eagles a 3-0 lead. The Green and Blue started the two out rally with a single from sophomore Brittney Garabedian (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep HS). Sophomore Regan Knapik (Land O’Lakes, Fla./Wiregrass Ranch HS) lined a hit that dropped in on the right field grass to put runners on first and third. Sophomore Jessica Barnes (Winter Haven, Fla./Haines City HS) battled to a 2-2 count when Knapik stole second and Stetson decided to walk her, to load the bases for Fernandez. Fernandez lined a sinking ball into the left center field gap that Chrissy Morello dove to make the catch. However, after picking her glove up to show the ball it slipped to the ground ruling it a double.
Morgan took the three run lead and made it stand by finishing off the Hatters in the top of the seventh on a fly out and two force outs. Knapik made the final two outs on force plays to second base to finish the game with eight assists. Knapik now has 138 assists on the season, which ties a FGCU season record that was set back in 2003 by Christine Beck.

Live stats, in-game Twitter updates (@FGCUSoftball), video coverage on ESPN3, results and recaps will be available at www.FGCUAthletics.com for tomorrow’s championship game.