CLEARWATER, Fla. - The #23 FGCU softball team led 2-1 going into the sixth inning and added four runs on four hits and an error in that frame to knock off the #21/14 UMass Minutewomen by the final of 6-3 on Sunday morning in Clearwater, Fla.
FGCU (30-4) won the USF Under Armour Showcase with a perfect 5-0 record.
The Eagles had 14 hits, led by Cheyenne Jenks' (Naples, Fla.) 3-for-3 with one home run performance.
UMass pitcher Brandice Balschmiter struck out nine batters in 5 1/3 innings of work, but the Eagles lit her up for 14 hits, which is the most hits she has surrendered in her career, that led to six runs, five of which were earned.
Cat McDaniel (Melbourne, Fla.), who has a 12-0 record on the season, went the distance for the Eagles, allowing three runs on six hits with four strikeouts, to lead the Eagles to their 22nd consecutive victory.
The Eagles struck first in the top of the first inning. Lauran Ziegler (Palm Bay, Fla.) struck out swinging to start the game, but reached first on a passed ball. Ziegler stole second and with two outs and Jenks singled to center field to drive her in with the game's first run.
UMass struck back in the bottom of the first. Carly Normandin led off the inning by hitting a ground-rule double and advanced to third on a passed ball. In the next at-bat, Whitney Williams doubled to the left field corner to drive in Normandin and tie the game, 1-1.
FGCU took the lead in the third when Jenks led the inning off with a solo home run to right-center.
The Eagles' big sixth inning started with Desiree Miller (Hartville, Ohio) reaching on an error. Monica Iachini (Claysburg, Pa.) pinch-ran for Miller but she was cut down trying to steal second. Hayley O'Mara (Naples, Fla.) doubled in the next at-bat, which was followed by a bunt single from Ziegler. Jessica Gary (Naples, Fla.) then hit a groundball back to the pitcher's circle and Balschmiter's throw to the catcher looked to get O'Mara at the plate, but the homeplate umpire ruled that she got under the tag, giving the Eagles a 3-1 lead.
Jessica Paez (Belle Glade, Fla.) then singled in a run and after Jenks was intentionally walked, Samantha Waldron (Plant City, Fla.) singled up the middle to score two more runs and gave FGCU a 6-1 lead.
The Minutewomen got a run back in the sixth. Sarah Reeves worked a one-out walk and advanced to second on a groundout before scoring on a fielding error by Jenks.
UMass scored another run in the seventh when Kyllie Magill singled through the right side and scored on a two-out double to right-center by Williams to make the score 6-3.
The Eagles return to action Friday, March 20 to open up their A-Sun conference schedule against Jacksonville. The doubleheader is set to begin at 5 p.m. at the JU softball complex.
The USF Under Armour Showcase All-Tournament Team will be announced by 10:30 a.m. Monday morning.