FORT MYERS, Fla. – The FGCU softball team will travel to Clearwater, Fla. for this weekend’s Under Armour Showcase hosted by the University of South Florida. During the tournament, the Eagles will face James Madison, New Mexico State, Central Michigan, Long Island, and USF.
The Blue and Green bring an 11-11 record into the tournament after sweeping a doubleheader against Kennesaw State on Wednesday night. Courtney Platt (Greenville, Ohio) delivered game-winning walk-off hits in both games, giving the Eagles a 2-0 start in conference play.
Platt leads the offensive attack, ranking in the top 10 in the A-Sun in virtually every category, including a conference-leading six home runs and 50 total bases. Platt is also second in RBIs (18), sixth in runs scored (17), eighth in batting average (.377), second in on-base percentage (.506), and third in slugging percentage (.820).
Lauran Ziegler (Palm Bay, Fla.) continues to be a solid table-setter at the top of the lineup, leading the conference with 14 stolen bases. Ziegler also ranks seventh in the conference in on-base percentage (.466), second in hits (27), and third in runs scored (19).
James Madison concludes its 10-day road trip this weekend at the USF Under Armour Showcase, coming in with an 8-8 record. The Dukes are lead by Jasmine Butler who is hitting .348 with one home run, two doubles, and seven stolen bases.
After receiving votes in both national polls last season for the first time in 16 years, New Mexico State, now 12-8, began the 2010 season as one of 20 teams outside of the top 25, receiving votes in the USA Softball rankings. The conference coaches selected junior first baseman Hoku Nohara for the preseason squad after leading New Mexico State last season with a .429 batting average that ranked 17th nationally to earn First Team All-WAC accolades last year. The 2010 preseason team also features senior outfielder Angie Ortega, who took home first team conference honors in 2009 after belting 14 home runs for the Aggies last season, tying Nohara for the team lead.
Central Michigan (4-6) will wrap up its 10-day Florida trip this weekend after finishing 2-3 in the USF Under Armour Invitational last weekend. The Chippewas defeated Penn State 5-2 on Tuesday after losing to the Nittany Lions on the first day of the UAI tournament. CMU is led by Molly Coldren who is hitting .406 with two home runs, three doubles, and eight RBIs.
Long Island comes into the Showcase with a 7-7 record. The Blackbirds are heading south to Clearwater after spending the weekend in Palm City, Calif. in the Cathedral City Classic. LIU went 1-4 in the tourney, defeating Cal Poly for its only win. This is the second time LIU will participate in a USF Tournament this year, and it will be the third meeting between the Eagles and the Blackbirds, with each team claiming one win so far.
The Bulls (10-7) went 3-0 during the week, defeating Saint Joseph's, 5-4, Tuesday night, before sweeping Maine, 5-3 and 7-1, on Wednesday. Senior Cat Olnick smashed her second career grand slam in game two against Maine, while sophomore Janine Richardson hit the first ever inside-the-park home run at the USF Softball Stadium. Senior Alison Savarese continues to lead the Bulls offensively. The third baseman has hit five doubles, five home runs and drove in 23.
The Eagles will open the tournament against James Madison (3 p.m.) and New Mexico State (5 p.m.) on Friday evening. Saturday, FGCU will take on Central Michigan (3 p.m.) and Long Island (5 p.m.). The Blue and Green wrap up the tournament against the host USF Bulls on Sunday at 12:30 p.m.