Creatures of Habit: Softball Wins in Extra Innings
Thursday, March 21, 2013 | by Andrew Piper (@ADPiper7)
FGCU will head to face ETSU in a three-game series, March 23-24. (Photo by Linwood Ferguson)
FGCU will head to face ETSU in a three-game series, March 23-24. (Photo by Linwood Ferguson)
Dartmouth (8-6)
FGCU (22-9)
3/21/2013 | Fort Myers, Fla. | Attendance: 97
Win: MORGAN (10-5) 3.210002
Loss: Rumley (7-3) 1.121110
McEachern (DART) 312000
Wharton (DART) 302100

FORT MYERS, Fla. – In its final game of a seven-game home stand that began on March 13, the FGCU softball team (22-9, 3-0 A-Sun) went into extras against Dartmouth and came out victorious, 3-2 in eight innings, at the FGCU Softball Complex on Thursday afternoon.

“I hate to sound like a broken record, but we battled adversity all day long and were able to come through at the end and that seems to be the pattern right now,” said head coach David Deiros. “We didn’t get started until we got punched, but we were able to come back and take that away from them so I am very proud of our kids.”

The Green and Blue finished the seven-game home stand with an unblemished 7-0 record, with five of those wins being earned after initially falling behind in the contests. Five of those seven wins have also come in walk-off fashion for the Eagles who did not shy away from drama during their stretch at the FGCU Softball Complex over the past eight days.

To break a scoreless tie in the bottom of the third, a Kelsey Carpenter (Ovideo, Fla./Hagerty HS) sacrifice fly to deep center field with one out brought across Tori Williams (Dunnellon, Fla./Dunnellon HS) to put FGCU up 1-0 over Dartmouth.

The Big Green would answer with offense of their own in the top of the fifth by putting multiple runners on base and capitalizing on the opportunity by bringing across two runs to snatch the lead from the Eagles and take a 2-1 lead.

With Jessica Barnes (Winter Haven, Fla./Haines City HS) on second base in the bottom of the sixth, Kirsten Bembnowski (Palm Harbor, Fla./East Lake HS) struck a ball into shallow center field for a base hit to bring Barnes across and tie the game at two runs apiece heading into the seventh and keep FGCU in play for a victory.

In the top of the seventh with a runner on third and two outs, relief pitcher Shelby Morgan (High Springs, Fla./Santa Fe HS) got behind to face a 3-0 count against a Dartmouth batter. Morgan powered through to throw three strikes to retire the side with a swinging strike out and keep the game tied heading into the home half of the seventh.

Once the game turned to the bottom of the seventh, the Eagles had a chance to end the contest in regulation. Makensie McAvoy (Plant City, Fla./Plant City HS) led off the inning with a walk in a pinch hit role and with one out, Tori Williams reached on an infield single to place runners at the corners for a chance at driving in the game-winning run.

After being unable to bring across the runner from third base at the end of regulation, the Eagles found themselves heading into extra innings on its home turf for the second straight game and the third time in the last four games.

A-Sun Player of the Week Mariah Fernandez (Cape Coral, Fla./North Fort Myers HS) led off the bottom of the eighth by roping a triple to right center to bring Chelsea Zgrabik (Venice, Fla./Venice HS) to the plate for her first at-bat of the day. With a runner in scoring position, the Green and Blue did not need much to score the winning run and Zgrabik did just enough by flying out to deep left field for a sacrifice fly to bring Fernandez home and give FGCU the win, 3-2.

The Green and Blue will now head away from the FGCU Softball Complex to take on ETSU for its second A-Sun series of the 2013 season. The Eagles will start their series against the Bucs with a twin billing on Saturday, March 23 that will get underway at 1 p.m. with the three-game set to conclude on Sunday, March 24 at 12 p.m.

In-game Twitter updates (@FGCU_Softball), results and a recap from the day’s action will be available at www.FGCUATHLETICS.com.