CLEARWATER, Fla. – The FGCU softball team dropped a pair of games to N.C. State, 8-2, and No. 5 Florida, 6-0, on Friday in its opening games at the USF Wilson-DeMarini Tournament at the Eddie C. Moore Complex.
In the first game, the Wolfpack came out swinging. After the first two outs were recorded by senior pitcher Kelci Breaux (Okeechobee, Fla./ Brevard CC), Alyssa Allbritten reached on an error, and Bethaney Wells followed with a walk. Then, back-to-back singles, drove in the two runners, putting N.C. State up 2-0.
N.C. State added to its lead in the third inning, when Bridget Desbois drove in Allbritten, who reached base on a walk.
FGCU got on the board in the bottom of the third inning when leadoff hitter freshman Tori Williams (Dunnellon, Fla./Dunnellon) opened the frame with a triple and later crossed the plate thanks to classmate Jessica Barnes’ (Winter Haven, Fla./Haines City) sacrifice fly. Pack pitcher Kayla Cox retired the next two batters, though, preserving N.C. State’s 3-1 advantage.
In the fourth inning, Alyssa Ishibashi hit a double, and then was plated by Toni Williford’s single, increasing the N.C. State lead to 5-1. That margin was extended, 6-1, in the fifth inning when the Pack added another run off of a sacrifice fly.
The Eagles pulled within four in the bottom of the sixth inning after senior Courtney Platt (Naples, Fla./Gulf Coast) led off the inning with a triple and later scored on a sacrifice fly, but N.C. State added runs in the seventh inning, extending the lead to the final decision of 8-2.
Breaux went four innings, notching four strikeouts and reliever, Stephanie Sullivan (Venice, Fla./Venice) closed the game tallying three strikeouts in three innings.
In the night cap, Florida broke a scoreless game in the sixth inning when Brittany Schutte hit a four-bagger and gave the Gators a 1-0 lead. With two outs, Florida’s offense surged and after a single from Megan Bush, Kelsey Horton hit a home run for a 3-0 advantage. The Gators were not finished as Tiffany DeFelice reached base on an error before Cheyenne Coyle hit the third home run of the inning to give Florida a 5-0 advantage.
In the seventh with two outs, Kelsey Bruder fired off the final home run of the game to give the Gators a 6-0 lead and close out the game.
FGCU struggled offensively as only redshirt sophomore Kayla Gabel (Lakeland, Fla./State College of Florida) and freshman Emily Lanier (St. Cloud, Fla./Harmony) registered hits against Florida’s Hannah Rogers. Rogers finished the game with 11 strikeouts and gave up a walk to Platt.
Redshirt senior Catherine McDaniel (Melbourne, Fla./Florida Tech) had four strikeouts in 6.2 innings and surrendered two walks. Redshirt junior Morgan Campen returned to the circle after a season off in relief, closing out with a strike out and a hit in 0.1 innings.
The Eagles are back in action on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. against Marshall before turning their attention to host USF at 3 p.m. on the second day of the tournament. Marshall dropped its opening game to the Gators, 17-1 on Friday. The Bulls defeated Long Island, 5-1, to record their 1,000th win in program history.