FORT MYERS, Fla. - Thanks to some hot bats, Florida Gulf Coast swept the USC Upstate Spartans by scores of 8-0 and 10-2 Thursday evening in A-Sun softball action.
Upstate fell to 15-9 overall and 1-5 in the A-Sun. FGCU improved to 35-5 overall and 5-1 in the league.
FGCU broke open a close game in the opener with three runs in the fifth and four runs in the seventh to take the 8-0 win. The Eagles broke on top in the third inning when Jessica Paez (Belle Glade, Fla.) knocked a sacrifice fly to right that scored Christa Piquette (Barrington, R.I.) from third.
FGCU dodged a bullet in the fourth inning as Upstate put runners on second and third with one out. However, Heidi Gibbs was thrown out trying to score on a ground ball to the right side and Eagle starter Catherine McDaniel (Melbourne, Fla.) induced a pop out to end the threat.
After dodging the threat in the fourth, FGCU broke on top for three runs in the fifth. The Eagles got two singles to lead off the inning. Cheyenne Jenks (Naples, Fla.) then took an outside pitch over the wall in right field to give FGCU a 4-0 lead.
An inning later, FGCU hit back-to-back singles with two outs to bring up Paez. Paez came through with a three-run homer and Jenks ended the game with her second home run, a solo shot to left, to give the Eagles an 8-0 lead and the win.
McDaniel improved to 15-0 on the year after tossing the three-hit shutout. Jenks led FGCU at the plate, finishing 2-for-2 with four RBIs and two walks.
FGCU started quickly in the second game, plating five runs in the bottom of the first inning. Samantha Waldron (Plant City, Fla.) collected an RBI in the inning and four more runs scored on two Upstate errors and illegal pitches.
Upstate got a pair of runs back in the fifth. Gibbs and Crislyn Chewning collected RBI singles in the inning as the Spartans got within three, 5-2. Upstate nearly got closer in the sixth, but Paez came up big defensively. The Spartans put runners on first and second. Kim Brasil lined one in the hole between third and shortstop, but Paez made a diving catch and threw to second for the inning-ending double play.
FGCU put five runs on the board in the bottom of the sixth inning to end the game. Paez and Desiree Miller (Hartville, Ohio) collected RBIs in the inning, while Lindsey Green (Bowling Green, Ky.) hit a three-run double.
FGCU starter Dana Frantz (Brighton, Mich.) went the distance and improved to 10-2 on the year.