FORT MYERS, Fla. – A three-run first inning and a stellar defensive performance gave the FGCU softball team a 4-0 victory against Buffalo on a sunny Wednesday afternoon at the FGCU Softball Complex. Purdue overcame a two-run deficit to win 3-2 in eight innings in the second game of the night.
With the split, FGCU is now 13-16 heading into its final weekend tournament of the season. Buffalo dropped to 3-16, while Purdue improved to 15-8.
Senior Courtney Platt (Naples, Fla./Gulf Coast) went 2-for-3 on the night, in addition to four walks. Going 3-for-5 on the night, sophomore Mariah Fernández (Cape Coral, Fla./North Fort Myers) connected for her first home run of the season, tallying an RBI.
In the opening game of the afternoon, freshman Brittney Garabedian (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep) got FGCU on the board in the first inning, sending a 1-1 pitch over the left field wall for her seventh longball of the season, scoring Platt who reached previously on a walk. Redshirt sophomore Lindsey Green (Bowling Green, Ky./Greenwood) tacked on another run with her double to centerfield, plating Fernández, who reached on a single, for a 3-0 lead.
The Eagles added another run in the fourth after freshman Kirsten Bembnowski (Palm Harbor, Fla./East Lake) led off with a double to left field and advanced on an illegal pitch. Senior Nicole Boswell (Jacksonville, Fla./Bartram Trail) brought the score to 4-0 that plated Bembnowski from third.
As the FGCU defense downed the Buffalo line up in order through the first four innings, senior Kelci Breaux (Okeechobee, Fla./Brevard CC) (3-4) gave up just two hits in seven innings, while striking out four with no walks in the win.
Purdue scored a run off two hits to break a 2-2 tie and take the game in the eighth. The leadoff batter fired a double to left center before a single through the right side scored the runner from second for the 3-2 victory.
The Boilermakers put a run on the board in the first on Erika Petruzzi’s nicely placed single between shortstop and third base. Petruzzi scored Molly Garst from third who reached on a lead-off single and advanced on a steal and ground out.
FGCU took the lead in the second with two runs on three hits. Platt led off with a double to left center and advanced to third on a Garabedian single up the middle. Platt was able to score on a double play at second before Fernández hit her first four-bagger of the season over the right center wall to give the Eagles a 2-1 lead.
The Boilermakers tied it, 2-2, in the fifth inning on Andie Varsho’s two-out single. Lindsey Rains reached on a walk and advanced to third on a single. Garabedian made a nice diving stop at shortstop, but Varsho beat out the throw at first to score Rains from third.
Senior Catherine McDaniel (Melbourne, Fla./Florida Tech) (5-8) surrendered the game-winning run for the loss. She gave up four hits, while striking out six with no walks in 3.1 innings of relief. Redshirt junior Morgan Campen (Rougemont, N.C./Northern) started the game, giving up two runs on four hits and one walk, while fanning two in 4.2 innings.
FGCU now heads north to Clearwater, Fla. for USF’s the Game Tournament on Friday, March 18. The Eagles play Winthrop (5:30 p.m.) and Dartmouth (8:00 p.m.) on Friday before taking on No. 18 Oklahoma State (12:30 p.m.) and Quinnipiac (5:30 p.m.) on Saturday. A match up with MAC opponent Kent State closes out the tournament on Sunday at noon.