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FGCU Hosts Lipscomb, Belmont in Crucial A-Sun Series
FORT MYERS, Fla. – After sweeping USC Upstate and ETSU last week, the FGCU softball team looks to extend its four-game winning streak against Atlantic Sun-leading Lipscomb on Thursday at the FGCU Softball Complex beginning at 5 p.m. The Eagles then host Belmont on Saturday on Senior Day at 2 p.m.
FGCU owns a 25-21 record on the season including an 8-2 mark in the A-Sun to sit in third place. Lipscomb is 22-14 overall and 9-1 in the league, while Belmont owns an 8-29 (1-9 A-Sun) mark this season.
The Blue and Green are 6-0 all-time against Belmont, while the Eagles and Lady Bisons are level at 3-3. FGCU won both games at Belmont in 2010 before dropping a pair of games to Lipscomb, who eventually competed in the 2010 NCAA tournament.
Sweeping this week’s conference awards, senior Courtney Platt (Naples, Fla./Gulf Coast) picked up her second career A-Sun Player of the Week honor after batting .636 with 10 RBI. Sophomore Stephanie Sullivan (Venice, Fla./Venice) threw two complete game shutouts, giving up just four hits to earn her first-ever Pitcher of the Week honor.
Platt leads the Eagles in hits (48) and RBI (27), while topping the A-Sun with a .410 average, 36 runs scored and 14 doubles and is second in the league with a .709 slugging percentage. She is tied for fifth in the country in walks (41), 10th in walks per game (0.82) and 11th in on-base percentage (.575). Sophomore Mariah Fernández (Cape Coral, Fla./North Fort Myers) also adds some offensive punch, batting .246 with four doubles, three triples, two home runs and 21 RBI.
Redshirt senior Catherine McDaniel (Melbourne, Fla./Florida Tech) (12-9) has given up just three runs in her last four starts en route to a four-game winning streak. She owns the team’s top ERA at 1.43, while striking out 93 batters in 137.1 innings and is fifth in the nation in walks allowed per seven innings at 0.82. Holding a 5-5 record, Sullivan is second on the team with a 2.09 ERA, fanning 29 batters in 67 innings.
With eight shutouts and 19 complete games, Lipscomb is led by All-American pitcher Whitney Kiihnl (16-7), who owns a 1.31 ERA and 249 strike outs in 160.1 innings of work. Breanna Thurman backs Kiihnl on the offense, batting .337 with a team-high 33 hits, while Caroline Mason owns a .333 clip and has a team-high tying eight home runs. Mollie Mitchell has a team-leading 36 RBI, while notching eight home runs.
Belmont travels to Stetson on Thursday before playing the Eagles on Saturday. The Bruins have dropped eight of their last nine with their lone win a 1-0 victory at UNF. Becca Gift leads the team with a .278 average and a team-high 27 hits. Ashley Byers has an extra-base hit in 17 out of her 25 hits en route to a team-best 21 RBI. Devon Schmidt (7-14) and Mia Vierra (1-9) split time in the circle.
The Blue and Green will honor its four seniors in a special ceremony before game two on Saturday. Nicole Boswell (Jacksonville, Fla./Bartram Trail), Kelci Breaux (Okeechobee, Fla./Brevard CC), McDaniel and Platt will be recognized by head coach David Deiros, his staff, Director of Athletics Ken Kavanagh, Assistant Athletic Director Colleen Sorem and the 2011 team.
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. Kids 12 and under get in free.
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).