Cat McDaniel won her 11th consecutive start for the Eagles
HONOLULU - The FGCU softball team extended their winning streak to 14 games on Friday with a 5-4 victory over the Hawaii Wahine in the Pepsi Malihini Kipa Aloha Tournament. Jessica Carter led the offense with a 2-for-4 day, driving in three of the five runs. Cat McDaniel continued her stellar opening to her FGCU career, improving to 11-0 in her 11th start as an Eagle.
The Eagles got on the board first in the top of the second inning. Cheyenne Jenks (Naples, Fla.) and Samantha Waldron (Plant City, Fla.) started the inning with back-to-back singles. Waldron's single was mishandled by the center fielder, allowing both runners to move up a base. With runners on second and third, Jessica Carter (Ocala, Fla.) singled into center, driving in both Jenks and Waldron. The Eagles would threaten further in the inning, but failed to score, leaving runners on first and second.
Hawai'i would cut the lead in half in the bottom of the third. Julie Franklin (Temple City, Calif.) led off the inning with a double to left field. Two batters later Tanisha Milca (Kailua, Haw.) reached on a fielding error by McDaniel, and Franklin came around to score on the play.
FGCU quickly got that run back, as Carter homered to left field to start off the top of the fourth inning. But the Wahine would cut into the lead again in half in the bottom of the fourth with a solo home run off the bat of Amanda Tauali'i. Cat McDaniel (Melbourne, Fla.) retired the next two batters to hold the lead for FGCU at 3-2 after four complete innings of play.
FGCU once again extended the lead, this time with a couple of runs in the top of the sixth inning. Courtney Platt (Naples, Fla.) led off the inning with a double to center, which was immediately followed by a double down the right field line from Desiree Miller (Hartville, Ohio), scoring Platt. After Christa Piquette (Barrington, R.I.) was hit by a pitch, the Eagles were the beneficiaries of a couple bad pitches from Stephanie Ricketts (San Jose, Calif.). A passed ball advanced the runners to second and third, and then a wild pitch scored Miller from third, putting the Eagles in front 5-2.
The Eagles maintained their three run cushion heading into the bottom of the seventh. Traci Yoshikawa (Honolulu, Haw.) drew a leadoff walk. After a line out and a strikeout, McDaniel was one out away from finishing the game. Tanisha Milca made things interesting with a two-out, two-run home run, but McDaniel struck out Dara Pagaduan (Kapolei, Haw.) to end the game, giving FGCU a 5-4 victory.
McDaniel pitched all seven innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on four hits and four walks, while striking out six. She improved to 11-0 on the season. Courtney Baughman (Valecia, Calif.) took the loss, allowing five runs (three earned) on eight hits and three walks over five innings, dropping her season record to 5-6.
The Eagles continue play in the Pepsi Malihini Kipa Aloha Tournament on Saturday with a pair of games. First up is Mount St. Mary's at 6 PM, followed by a game against Radford at 8 PM. Both game times are Eastern.