FORT MYERS, Fla. – With the start of the 2012 softball season fast approaching, FGCU softball is celebrating its 10th season of competition by counting down the Top 10 Moments in FGCU softball history.
The Eagles competed at the Division II level for their first five seasons, qualified for the postseason in two of their three eligible seasons, transitioned to Division I, joined the Atlantic Sun Conference, produced three Conference Players of the Year and three All-Americans, and won 382 games. After poring over more than 500 games of history, a panel selected the most significant events and will release one each day leading up to the first pitch of the 2012 season.
Coming in at No. 7 - "Seven Home Runs in one inning” (Apr. 22, 2007)
FGCU entered the final weekend of the 2007 regular season with a 56-6 record as they went on the road to West Palm Beach, Fla. to face Northwood for a double header. The Green and Blue were sporting an NCAA Division II top 20 ranking and had already assured themselves of an invitation to the postseason, which would begin in two weeks.
The Eagles won the first game of the series 6-2 after scoring four runs in the top of the seventh to break open a 2-2 tie. Senior first baseman Natasha Johnson provided the big blow with a two-run double with two outs that put the game out of reach.
In the second game of the series, FGCU started quickly with three runs in the first inning to take a 3-0 lead. Johnson, senior leftfielder Jessica Rouse, and junior second baseman Alisha Boyd all delivered RBI to give FGCU the fast start. After a quiet bottom of the first for Northwood, the Green and Blue woke everyone up with an incredible display of power hitting in the top of the 2nd inning.
FGCU opened the inning with a solo home run to right centerfield by senior centerfielder Rachel Homan. After sophomore shortstop Cheyenne Jenks got on base with a single, junior third baseman Carmen Paez blasted a two-run shot to left field to make the score 6-0. Rouse cranked the next pitch far over the right centerfield fence for a solo homer. The hits kept coming as Johnson and sophomore catcher Desiree Miller hit two more singles putting runners on first and second and chasing the starting pitcher.
With the return of Northwood’s game one starting pitcher to the circle, things seemed to be settling down as the next three hit balls never left the infield and produced two outs. However, that was just the calm before the storm as Homan came to the plate for her second at-bat of the inning. She promptly delivered a three-run shot to center for her second homer of the inning. Jenks made it back-to-back with a solo shot to left and Paez followed suit with her second homer of the inning to left center. Paez’ homer was her 26th on the season, which tied her for the NCAA Division II record for home runs in a season. Still with two outs, Rouse doubled in her second plate appearance of the inning and Miller rounded out the scoring with a two-run laser that easily cleared the left centerfield fence.
When the dust settled, the Blue and Green had registered the most productive inning in their history. “That was one of the most impressive hitting displays I had ever seen at any level. We hit every ball that inning on the button,” said head coach David Deiros. In all, 16 batters had come to the plate and they produced 12 runs on 11 hits. The seven home runs in the inning was one shy of the NCAA Division II record. Homan and Paez set FGCU records with two home runs in the same game and national records with two home runs in the same inning. They hit one pair of back-to-back homers and one set of back-to-back-to-back homers.
The Eagles would go on to finish off Northwood 21-2 in just five innings but the real story was the second inning. Deiros added, “the one thing I will always remember was the reaction by the Northwood students who had come to see the game. They parked behind the left field fence and watched the game from their vehicles. As the second inning went on, you could hear the buzz and roars get louder because I think they really appreciated seeing something that special in person.”
The Green and Blue would go on to lead the nation in wins in 2007 with 62 (a program record) including a streak of 26 consecutive victories and a 32-2 record at home. Their eight home runs on the day would help set the school record of 87 home runs on the season (second best in the country that year). Paez would go on to lead the nation with 28 home runs on the season, followed by Homan’s 19, and Rouse’s 15. The Eagles set a school record by scoring just under 6 runs per game—a record that they would break each of the next two seasons.
FGCU opens its 10th season for the fifth consecutive year at the USF Tournament where they will face the tournament host and No. 2 University of Florida on Friday, Feb. 10th.
The Eagles will unveil one moment per day for 10 consecutive days, and culminating with the No. 1 moment on Feb. 10th to coincide with the start of the season. You will be able to relive all the events at www.fgcuathletics.com/softball.
No. 10 – Comeback victory vs. UNF in extra innings in 2004
No. 9 – Walk-off win against #17 Valdosta State in 2007
No. 8 – Upset win vs. #13 DePaul in 2009
No. 7 - Seven Home Runs in one inning in 2007