Softball Opens 2007 with a Pair of Wins
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., – Belting five home runs on the day, the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles slugged their way to a doubleheader sweep over Palm Beach Atlantic University in the season opener for both squads. The Eagles topped the Sailfish 6-1 in the first affair and followed with a 6-0 blanking in the nightcap. Ten of the 12 runs recorded by Florida Gulf Coast in the doubleheader came on homeruns.
After two scoreless innings in the opening game, FGCU quickly moved in front in the top of the third frame on a three-run home run by sophomore shortstop Cheyenne Jenks (Naples, Fla.). PBA trimmed their deficit in the bottom of the fourth inning when junior first basemen Cheryl Stephens lined an RBI-double to the outfield fence, bringing in junior shortstop Casey Gibson, who reached on a fielder’s choice earlier in the inning.
The score remained at 3-1 in favor of the Eagles until the top of the seventh inning. The Eagles smashed their second three-run home run of the game in their final at bat to add some insurance to their advantage. This time, the long ball was credited to senior leftfielder Jessica Rouse (Jacksonville, Fla.), who moved around senior centerfielder Rachael Homan (Vero Beach, Fla.) and Cheyenne Jenks. Homan reached on an inning-opening single and Jenks followed with a single down the right field line to bring up Rouse.
The Sailfish were unable to mount a comeback rally in their final at bat in the bottom of the seventh, securing the 6-1 win for FGCU. The Eagles’ starting pitcher in junior Rachael Edinger (Lakeland, Fla.) went the distance on the mound to pick up the win, throwing seven strong innings, allowing just one earned run on four hits, while striking out ten and walking none. Junior pitcher Andrea Fugate (Lake Wales, Fla./St. Petersburg CC) was tagged with the loss for the Sailfish, suffering all six earned runs on six hits and four walks in seven innings of work. Fugate did strike out eight opposing batters in the setback.
Homan and Jenks highlighted the FGCU box score in game own, each owning two hits with Homan adding 2 stolen bases and Jenks tallying 3 RBIs.
The second game started in familiar fashion as the Eagles jumped out to a 2-0 lead on a two-run homerun by junior third basemen Carmen Paez (Belle Glade, Fla.). The Eagles put three more runners across home plate in the fifth inning to take a comfortable 5-0 advantage. The scoring in the fifth inning for FGCU started with a solo home run by Jenks, her second home run of the day. Three batters later, Rouse scored on an RBI-triple by sophomore Desiree Miller (Hartville, Ohio) and Natasha Johnson (Fort Pierce, Fla.) followed with a sacrifice fly to complete the trio of runs in the frame.
Wrapping up the scoring in the nightcap, Florida Gulf Coast junior Hillary Johnson (Fort Myers, Fla.) led off the sixth inning with a solo home run. The 6-0 score would stand as the final. Sophomore pitcher Dana Frantz (Brighton, Mich.) earned the win, producing a complete-game performance in allowing just three hits while striking out five for the Eagles. Freshman Ashley Jones was nabbed with the loss for PBA, allowing six earned runs on seven hits, while striking out seven.
Jenks went 3-for-4 at the plate in the second game to finish with 5 hits in the doubleheader for FGCU. Hillary Johnson added two hits in the second game for the Eagles.
The Eagles will be back in action again on Sunday when they travel to Melbourne, Fla., to face Florida Tech.