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FGCU Tops Kennesaw State in 10 Innings
Eagles split doubleheader against Owls
KENNESAW, Ga. – In a 10 inning affair, the FGCU softball team defeated Kennesaw State 2-0 in game one on Sunday afternoon at Bailey Park. Kennesaw State rallied for two runs in the seventh inning to defeat the Eagles 6-5 in the second game of the day.
FGCU is now 21-21 on the season, but more importantly 4-2 in conference play. Kennesaw State improves to 20-14 and 4-4 in the A-Sun.
It was a pitcher’s game as the teams combined for just seven hits. Redshirt senior Catherine McDaniel (Melbourne, Fla./Florida Tech) (10-9) gave up four hits and one walk, while striking out eight in the complete game shutout. Despite tallying 12 strike outs, Kennesaw State pitcher Abbey Meixel (5-3) took the loss, giving up just three hits, six walks and two runs in 9.2 innings of work.
Both teams threatened to get on the board in the first inning, but each side left the bases loaded. FGCU allowed just one Kennesaw State player to reach base until Jessica Cross earned a walk in the seventh inning. Lyndsay McMurry pinch ran for Cross and was able to steal second before being tagged out at second to send the game to extra innings.
FGCU put runners on in the fourth, fifth and seventh innings, but could not convert a run. Senior Courtney Platt (Naples, Fla./Gulf Coast) attempted to break the score on a passed ball, but was thrown out at the plate to end the eighth inning.
In conference play, the international tie breaker rule goes into effect when the game reaches 10 innings. Freshman Kirsten Bembnowski (Palm Harbor, Fla./East Lake) was placed on second before advancing on a sacrifice bunt. She broke the 0-0 tie on freshman Regan Knapik’s (Land O’Lakes, Fla./Wiregrass Ranch) single through the right side. Redshirt sophomore Kayla Gabel (Lakeland, Fla./State College of Florida) advanced to third on the hit after earning a walk to reach base. Knapik was able to advance to second on the throw to home
With two outs, Meixel surrendered a walk to Platt allowing FGCU to load the bases. Kennesaw State changed pitchers in hopes of ending the inning as Catherine Tarvin stepped in and put two straight strikes on the board. A fielding error by the Owls third baseman on freshman Tori Williams’ (Dunnellon, Fla./Dunnellon) hit proved costly as it allowed Gabel to score and give the Eagles the game.
Kennesaw State was not able to provide any offense in the bottom of the frame as the Eagles recorded three straight outs for the fourth time in the game.
In game two, the Eagles held a 5-4 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh, but were unable to hold off the Owls as back-to-back singles put the tying run on first base. With two outs, a hit by pitch loaded the bases for Ashlee’s Burkett’s double down the left field line to bring the winning run home.
FGCU took the lead in the fifth inning on Platt’s RBI single up the middle. Williams reached on a single before stealing second and scoring to tie the game at 4-4. Platt advanced to second on the attempted out at home, and advanced to third on a ground out. The senior then took advantage of a throwing error to give the Eagles a 5-4 advantage.
The Owls took their original lead off a triple to bring Sara Sikes, who reached on a leadoff single, across the plate. Clean-up hitter Sharon Swanson then fired a two-run shot down the left field line to make it a 3-0 game in the first.
FGCU responded with a run of its own in the top of the third on sophomore Chelsea Yates’ (Boynton Beach, Fla./Park Vista) single through the left side to score classmate Mariah Fernández (Cape Coral, Fla./North Fort Myers). Fernández led off the inning with a triple down the right field line.
Swanson struck again, this time with a solo shot over the centerfield wall to give Kennesaw State the 4-1 lead in the third.
The Eagles brought the score to within in, 4-3, in the bottom of the fourth, as Platt and Brittney Garabedian (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep) scored on an Owl throwing error. Both runners advanced on a ground out. Platt was hit by pitch to start the inning and advanced on a miscue on Garabedian’s hit to second base.
Sophomore relief pitcher Stephanie Sullivan (Venice, Fla./Venice) (3-5) took the loss, giving up the final two runs of the game off four hits in 3.2 innings. Senior Kelci Breaux (Okeechobee, Fla./Brevard CC) started, giving up four runs on four hits and a walk in three innings of work. Amanda Henderson (4-4) earned the win, surrendering just two hits and two walks in two innings of relief work.
FGCU now heads back to Fort Myers to continue A-Sun play against USC Upstate and ETSU. The Eagles host USC Upstate on Thursday at 5 p.m., while ETSU visits the FGCU Softball complex on Saturday at 2 p.m. Live stats for each game are available at www.FGCUATHLETICS.com.