FGCU Softball Splits with #10 North Florida
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Florida Gulf Coast University and No. 10 University of North Florida split a softball doubleheader Friday night at the FGCU Softball Complex in the regular season finale for both teams.
FGCU blanked UNF in the first game, 2-0, before the Ospreys came back to edge the Eagles 5-1 in the nightcap. The Eagles (38-18), ranked ninth in this week’s NCAA Division II south region poll, must move into the top-six in the next regional poll for a shot at post-season.
Meanwhile, the Ospreys (39-10) are expected to receive a tournament bid to the South Atlantic regional after earning a No. 2 ranking in this week’s regional poll. The top six teams in each region qualify for the tournament, at a site yet to be announced.
FGCU senior right-hander Kelly Powe (Naples, Fla.) threw a masterful one-hitter with six strikeouts in the opener for her 12th shutout of the season and 26th of her career. Powe (28-7), who is fourth in Division II in wins this season, gave up a one-out double to Ospreys third baseman Laura Hanstein in the second inning before retiring the final 17 hitters she faced.
Ospreys’ starter Kelli Pitts (6-2) held the Eagles to just six hits as FGCU scored their only two runs in the first inning. Senior Blaire Toleman (Lehigh Acres, Fla.) grounded a one-out single up the middle to score senior Kristy Ringler (LaBelle, Fla.), who had singled and stolen second, to make it 1-0. Toleman finished with two hits and a walk. Freshman Hillary Johnson (Fort Myers) followed with a RBI double off the center field wall for a 2-0 lead.
In the second game, FGCU again jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead in the first inning on an RBI single by Johnson. However, UNF finally scored against Powe, starting both ends of a doubleheader for just the third time, in the third inning.
Ashley Parenteau hit a two-out single to center field and moved to second base after Christina Evans was hit by a pitch. Kelli Rutenbar followed with a RBI single to tie it before Hanstein grounded a two-run single down the left field line for a 3-1 Ospreys lead.
UNF added two insurance runs in the fifth inning, highlighted by an RBI infield single by Hanstein and aided by two FGCU errors. Hanstein went 2-for-3 with three RBI to pace a nine-hit attack. Parenteau and Rutenbar added two hits apiece.
Ospreys’ starter Randalyn Rogers (2-1) handcuffed the Eagles bats, allowing just five singles and one run in six innings. Jessica Sexton gave up one hit during a scoreless seventh. Powe (28-8) gave up seven hits and five runs in six innings and ended her career with every significant single-season and career pitching mark at FGCU.
The games marked the final appearance in an Eagles uniform for Powe, Toleman, Ringler and Ashley Cecil.