CLEARWATER, Fla. – The FGCU softball team scored runs in five of the seven innings to beat Long Island, 8-2, in the final game of the USF Wilson-DeMarini Tournament on Sunday afternoon at the Eddie C. Moore Complex.
“I thought are players did a very nice job of going back to the fundamentals and mechanics of their swings,” said ninth-year head coach David Deiros. “It paid dividends, putting runs on the board early in the game. It was also nice pitching performance by Stephanie Sullivan. She kept control for the duration of her time in the circle.”
FGCU now has a 2-3 record heading into its opening home tournament of the season. The Eagles face Georgetown on Friday, Feb. 18 at 6 p.m. in the Homewood Suites/Hilton Garden Inn FGCU Tournament.
The Blue and Green got off to an early start when freshman Tori Williams (Dunnellon, Fla./Dunnellon) scored off a walk. Sophomore Mariah Fernández (Cape Coral, Fla./North Fort Myers) was able to score off a Long Island error and give FGCU a 2-0 lead.
After two scoreless innings, FGCU extended its lead to 3-0 in the fourth when freshman Brittney Garabedian (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep) knocked a solo home run. Classmate Kirsten Bembnowski (Palm Harbor, Fla./East Lake) slammed another solo homer in the sixth, making the score 5-0.
LIU scored its first run in the sixth when Jazmin Rodriguez popped up to center field and Karina Cervantes seized the chance to take home. Bianca Mejia got on base off an error by FGCU, and was brought home by a single.
Freshman Regan Knapik (Land O’ Lakes, Fla./Wiregrass Ranch) scored the eighth and final run for the Eagles in the seventh, pinch running for redshirt sophomore Lindsey Green (Bowling Green, Ky./Greenwood) after she smacked a double into center field.
Sophomore Stephanie Sullivan (Venice, Fla./Venice) picked up the win in her first start of the season. Sullivan allowed just three hits in 5.2 innings, while striking out one. LIU’s Megan Sheaf took the loss in the circle for the Blackbirds, allowing five hits while striking out five.
Williams and classmate Jessica Barnes (Winter Haven, Fla./Haines City) scored four of the Eagles’ runs, while Barnes went 2-for-4 with an RBI on the day. Redshirt sophomore Kayla Gabel (Lakeland, Fla./State College of Florida) and Bembnowski also went 2-for-4 to give the Eagles their highest hit total (9) of the tournament.
FGCU hosts its first of three tournaments this season beginning on February 18 to February 20. Georgetown, Michigan State, Saint Louis, South Carolina and Villanova all travel south to take part in the Homewood Suites/Hilton Garden Inn FGCU Tournament.