FGCU holds steady in third place in the conference
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Behind eight RBI from senior Courtney Platt (Naples, Fla./Gulf Coast) and excellent efforts from the pitching staff, the FGCU Softball team swept ETSU in a pair of five inning games, 9-1 and 8-0, on Saturday afternoon in an Atlantic Sun doubleheader at the FGCU Softball Complex.
With the sweep, FGCU improves to 25-21 and 8-2 in the A-Sun to sit in third place and extend its winning streak to four games. The Bucs drop to 14-24, 3-9 in the conference.
The game was also the team’s second annual “Hit Pink” day as the Eagles honored three team members’ mothers before the game with ceremonial first pitches. FGCU also sold pink t-shirts with proceeds to go to the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
For the day, Platt hit for the cycle, going 5-for-6 with eight RBI and scoring three runs.. Five Eagles registered multi-hit days including five extra-base hits. Freshman Kirsten Bembnowski (Palm Harbor, Fla./East Lake) and redshirt sophomore Kayla Gabel (Lakeland, Fla./State College of Florida) each had a pair of RBI as well.
Redshirt senior Catherine McDaniel (Melbourne, Fla./Florida Tech) went the distance, allowing one run on five hits, while fanning six to improve to 12-9 on the year. In game two, Stephanie Sullivan (Venice, Fla./Venice) gave up her only hit in the final inning and recorded four strike outs.
FGCU started game one on fire, putting up nine runs on six hits in the first inning. Platt got things going with a three-run shot to centerfield, scoring freshmen Tori Williams (Dunnellon, Fla./Dunnellon) and Brittney Garabedian (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep), who each reached on walks. Gabel then tallied her two RBI on a single just past second base for a 5-0 lead with only one out.
After a pitching change, freshman Regan Knapik (Land O’Lakes, Fla./Wiregrass Ranch) singled to left field, advancing Gabel. Williams then came up to plate again and singled before advancing on the throw. to plate Gabel. Platt then hit her second extra-base hit of the inning, a double to center, to push across two more runs for the 9-0 lead.
Relief pitcher Shelby Morris managed to hold the Eagles scoreless on two hits in the final three innings of play, but the advantage proved to be too much. ETSU scored its lone run of the series on a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded. With runners still on, McDaniel got out of the jam, recording the next two outs to keep the eight-run lead.
The Bucs’ starter Jessica Duncan (7-10) took the loss in just a third of an inning, giving up six runs on six hits and four walks. ETSU’s Katie Henderson totaled two hits in game one, including the Bucs’ only extra-base hit.
The Eagles jumped out to another early lead, 5-0, in the first inning of the second game. Back-to-back singles from Williams and Garabedian put two on for Platt as she tallied her sixth RBI of the day, scoring Williams on a single to center. Sophomore Mariah Fernández (Cape Coral, Fla./North Fort Myers) recorded the fourth hit of the frame, plating Garabedian before Platt was able to motor around on an ETSU throwing error for a 3-0 lead.
Bembnowski then hit an RBI-double to left field before advancing to third on classmate Emily Lanier’s (St. Cloud, Fla./Harmony) hit to center. With runners on the corners and no outs, a sacrifice fly plated Bembnowski to close out the inning.
FGCU added three more runs to its lead in the bottom of the second as once again Williams led off with a single before Garabedian doubled to left. Platt then tripled to right center, notching two more RBI, before scoring on a sacrifice fly to score the eighth run of the game.
With two outs in the fifth, Marlina Delisa’s single proved to be the Bucs lone hit of the game as only two other ETSU batters reached base on errors. Sullivan preserved her shutout though, getting the last batter to go down swinging.
FGCU continues its homestand against first-place Lipscomb (22-14, 9-1 A-Sun) on Thursday, April 14 at 5 p.m. at the FGCU Softball Complex. The Bisons swept UNF and Jacksonville over the weekend to sit atop the conference standings.
Tickets for the game can be purchased through the FGCU Ticket Office in Alico Arena either in person or by phone at (239) 590-7145. Tickets are also available here. FGCU students, faculty and staff get in free of charge with an Eagle ID.
Live stats, box scores and recaps for every FGCU contest as well as the other tournament games are available at www.FGCUAthletics.com. Live updates of FGCU’s games can also be followed on Twitter (@FGCUEagles).