CLEARWATER, Fla. - The FGCU softball team picked up two wins on the first day of the USF The Game Tournament defeating Winthrop, 4-2, before shutting out Dartmouth, 6-0, in the later game at the Eddie C. Moore Complex on Friday.
With the pair of wins, FGCU improves to 15-16 on the season. The Eagles continue play at the tournament against No. 18 Oklahoma State at 12:30 p.m. and Quinnipiac at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday.
FGCU did not waste any time as it scored two runs in the first inning off two hits. Senior Courtney Platt (Naples, Fla./Gulf Coast) reached on a walk and advanced on freshman Brittney Garabedian’s (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep) single. A sacrifice bunt moved both runners before they scored on freshman Jessica Barnes’ (Winter Haven, Fla./Haines City) single to second base.
The Eagles tacked on another run in the third when redshirt sophomore Lindsey Green (Bowling Green, Ky./Greenwood) hit a double to centerfield to plate freshman Emily Lanier (St. Cloud, Fla./Harmony), who reached on a single, for the 3-0 lead.
In the sixth, a Platt single scored pinch runner sophomore Chelsea Yates (Boynton Beach, Fla./Park Vista) from third for a 4-0 lead. Running for Green, who reached on a walk, Yates advanced on a single and ground out.
Senior Catherine McDaniel (Melbourne, Fla./Florida Tech) (6-8) held Winthrop to just two hits over the first six innings before giving up two runs on two hits and an error in the seventh inning. McDaniel earned the win, surrendering five hits and one walk, while striking out three.
Besides the six runs from the offense, game two was controlled by senior pitcher Kelci Breaux (Okeechobee, Fla./Brevard CC) (4-4) who fanned a career-high 14 batters. Breaux surrendered five hits and no walks en route to her second consecutive shutout to extend her winning streak to three.
The Eagles put up five runs on the board in the second on four hits. Freshman Emily Lanier (St. Cloud, Fla./Harmony) reached second on a Dartmouth miscue and redshirt sophomore Kayla Gabel (Lakeland, Fla./State College of Florida) earned a walk to put runners on first and second. Freshman Regan Knapik (Land O’Lakes, Fla./Wiregrass Ranch) then sent a single to centerfield to score Lanier and move Gabel to second. Platt came up with an RBI-double to left center to plate Gabel.
With runners on second and third, Garabedian loaded the bases on a walk before sophomore Mariah Fernández’ (Cape Coral, Fla./North Fort Myers) two-RBI single to left field. Green closed out the four hit inning with a single of her own up the middle to score Garabedian. The Eagles tried to score Fernández on Green’s hit, but she was thrown out at the plate to end the inning, 5-0.
Dartmouth threatened in both the second and third with a runner at third, but each time Breaux was able to get out of the jam, striking out the final batters.
FGCU added one more run in the fifth off Barnes’ single to shortstop. She scored freshman Tori Williams (Dunnellon, Fla./Dunnellon), who pinch ran for Green at second. Green sent a double to right center for her second hit of the night to reach base. With a runner on, Dartmouth was able to stop the score at 6-0 as it got the final two outs of inning on a caught stealing and ground out.
Evan Gray earned the loss for the Big Green, giving up seven hits and five walks, while fanning three in four innings. Morgan Wharton came in relief giving up just one hit and no walks in two innings.
Platt and Green were both 3-for-5 on the day with two RBI each, while four other Eagles tallied multi-hit nights. Barnes went 3-for-7 with a team-high three RBI.