FORT MYERS, Fla. – The FGCU softball team improved to 4-0 in Atlantic Sun Conference games with a sweep of the Jacksonville Dolphins on Thursday night at the FGCU Softball Complex. A three-run home run from Hayley O’Mara (Naples, Fla.) helped the Eagles take game one, 6-4, and a pair of home runs coupled with a great outing from Kelci Breaux (Okeechobee, Fla.) completed the sweep, 6-0.
After the Dolphins (21-9, 0-2 A-Sun) grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, the Eagles (15-19, 4-0) put three runs on the board in the bottom half of the inning. Jessica Gary (Naples, Fla.) singled and Courtney Platt (Greenville, Ohio) walked, setting up runners on first on second with one out. O’Mara stepped up and jacked a three-run homer over the right field fence, giving the Eagles a 3-1 lead after one inning.
JU batted around in the top of the second, scoring three runs to regain a one-run lead. Kayla Ouellet was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, scoring the first run. Katie Kelly then reached on an infield single, one of her four hits in the game, scoring another run. Amanda Schmidt knocked in the third run on a fielder’s choice, putting Jacksonville out in front, 4-3.
The Blue and Green answered with three runs of their own in the home half of the second inning, retaking the lead, 6-4. Nicole Boswell (Jacksonville, Fla.) walked and Chelsea Yates (Boynton Beach, Fla.) reached on an infield single, putting two runners on with one out. Two batters later, Gary roped a double to the fence in left, scoring both runs. Platt followed up with a solid single to left center, scoring Gary with the third run of the inning, giving FGCU a 6-4 lead after two innings.
Despite the offensive barrage for the first two innings, both pitching staffs settled down and didn’t allow any scoring for the rest of the game. Olivia Kline came on in relief for JU to start the third inning and only allowed one walk over the final four frames. The Dolphins collected seven hits over the final five innings, but weren’t able to dent the scoreboard.
Catherine McDaniel (Melbourne, Fla.) pitched 6.1 innings to pick the win, improving to 7-9 on the season. McDaniel allowed four runs on 14 hits, walking two and striking out six. Stephanie Sullivan (Venice, Fla.) came on in the top of the seventh to slam the door, recording the final two outs to pick up her second save.
O’Mara finished 1-for-2 with her first home run of the season, collecting three RBIs and a run scored as well. Gary was 2-for-3 with a double, two runs scored, and two RBIs.
In game two, the Eagles jumped out to an early lead with three runs in the first and never looked back.
Lauran Ziegler (Palm Bay, Fla.) led off with a bunt single, and Platt connected for a two-run home run put FGCU in front. With two outs, Mariah Fernandez (Cape Coral, Fla.) doubled and Tiffani Upchurch (Lake Wales, Fla.) followed with a single, scoring Fernandez and giving the Eagles a 3-0 lead in the first inning.
Gary launched a solo home run deep over the right center field fence with two down in the bottom of the second, extending the lead to 4-0.
The score remained 4-0 until the sixth inning, when the Blue and Green tacked on a couple of insurance runs, both scoring with two outs. Gary singled to center, scoring Gina Galvin (Orlando, Fla.), and O’Mara singled to center, scoring Gary. The Eagles held a 6-0 lead after six innings, and they would go on to win by that same score.
Kelci Breaux (Okeechobee, Fla.) pitched a complete game shutout to pick up the win, improving to 5-6 on the season. For Breaux, it was her first complete game shutout of the season. Breaux allowed just four hits and two walks while striking out nine.
Gary finished the game 2-for-4 with her sixth home run of the season, two runs scored, and two RBIs. Ziegler and Fernandez each picked up two hits as well, and Platt knocked in two runs.
The Eagles wrap up the homestand on Saturday when they host A-Sun foe North Florida in a doubleheader. First pitch for game one is slated for 2 p.m. at the FGCU Softball Complex.