MIAMI, Fla. – The FGCU softball team split a doubleheader with the Golden Panthers of Florida International University at the FIU Softball Complex in Miami, Fla. on Tuesday night. The Eagles took game one, 10-4, before losing in the second game, 4-0. FGCU’s record moves to 18-24 overall, while the Golden Panthers now stand at 23-14.
The Blue and Green jumped out in front early thanks to a three-run home run off the bat of Mariah Fernandez (Cape Coral, Fla.) in the top of the first inning, her fourth home run of the season, giving the Eagles a 3-0 lead after one inning.
FIU got on the board in the bottom of the second, scoring twice thanks to a pair of FGCU errors, cutting the lead to 3-2 after two innings of play.
The Eagles broke it open in the third inning, sending 10 batters to the plate as they scored five runs. Jessica Gary (Naples, Fla.) and Courtney Platt (Greenville, Ohio) each picked up RBI doubles with nobody out, extending the lead to 5-2. Later in the inning, Erin Olson (Naples, Fla.) drew a bases-loaded walk that scored Platt to put FGCU ahead 6-2. Gina Galvin (Orlando, Fla.) capped the scoring, lacing a two-run single into left center field to give the Eagles am 8-2 advantage after three innings.
Tiffani Upchurch (Lake Wales, Fla.) and Olson each plated runs with RBI singles in the fourth inning, increasing the advantage to 10-2. A solo home run by Kayla Burri in the bottom of the fourth made it 10-3 after four innings.
The Golden Panthers would tack on one more run in the bottom of the seventh, but Catherine McDaniel (Melbourne, Fla.) shut down the rally to give FGCU a 10-4 victory in game one.
Kelci Breaux (Okeechobee, Fla.) pitched six solid innings for the win, leveling her record at 7-7. Breaux allowed three runs (two earned) on seven hits, walking two and striking out three. McDaniel allowed a run on two hits in her one inning of work.
Eight different Eagles recorded at least one hit and six Eagles drove in at least one run. Gary finished the game 2-for-4 with an RBI and three runs scored. Platt was 1-for-1 with three walks, three runs scored, and an RBI. Fernandez ended up 1-for-2 with a walk, home run, two runs scored, and three RBIs.
Game two was a different story, with runs being scored in only one half inning.
Through the first three innings, only three hits had been recorded, with neither team advancing a runner past second base.
FIU’s Jen Gniadek ended the scoreless streak when she connected for a grand slam in the bottom of the fourth inning off of Stephanie Sullivan (Venice, Fla.). Those four runs would prove to be the only scoring in the game.
The Eagles couldn’t ever mount any sort of rally against FIU’s Kasey Barrett, collecting just two hits off of the senior pitcher. The Golden Panthers would go on to win game two by a score of 4-0.
McDaniel started game two, allowing just two hits in three shutout innings to earn a no decision. Sullivan came on in relief and took the loss, falling to 3-6 on the year. Sullivan allowed four runs on seven hits in three innings of relief, striking out one.
Lauran Ziegler (Palm Bay, Fla.) had both of FGCU’s hits in game two, a pair of infield singles. Upchurch was the only other Eagle to reach base, doing so on a passed ball on a dropped third strike.
The Eagles land back at home on Thursday, April 8, when they host Campbell for a doubleheader. Thursday night is also “’80s Night” at the FGCU Softball Complex. Fans dressed in their favorite ‘80s outfits will receive free admission and there will be free pizza for all fans between games. First pitch for game one is slated for 5 p.m.