FORT MYERS, Fla. – With the start of the 2012 softball season just hours away, 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.
The final moment at No. 1 - "Carmen Paez Sets D-II HR Record in 2007” (May 11, 2007)
FGCU entered the game against No. 7 Alabama-Huntsville, who was the No. 2 seed in the South Region Tournament, with its season on the brink in the South Region elimination game. The Eagles were put in this situation after a loss against Rollins, just a day before.
The Eagles jumped all over Alabama-Huntsville as the bats came alive in the bottom of the first when Rachael Homan singled, Cheyenne Jenks singled, Carmen Paez doubled and Jessica Rouse roped a two-run double to give the Green and Blue a 3-0 lead.
The 3-0 cushion would remain the same until the top of the fourth when Alabama-Huntsville scored two runs on three hits to cut the Eagles’ lead to 3-2.
In the bottom of the fifth, FGCU started the inning with a pinch-hit single from Christa Piquette followed by a pop up from Homan. Jenks singled with one out to put runners at the corners for Paez. The drama unfolded as Paez, who entered the game tied for the D-II record for most home runs in a single-season with 26, preceded to blast a three-run bomb to centerfield for the milestone 27th homer. The homer would give the Eagles a 6-3 lead and save them from elimination.
“It was a great moment for our program to have the D-II’s leading home run hitter and to break the record in such a pressure situation shows how great Paez was for us,” said head coach David Deiros. "This was a very important achievement personally for Carmen. She really wanted this to emphasize how hard she had worked to come back and be a difference maker."
Rachael Edinger picked up her 29th win of the season with her program single-season record 32nd complete game victory. Edinger allowed three earned runs, while striking out seven. Her 1.01 ERA in 2007 was the fourth-best season total in school history. Edinger finished 29-3 tying her teammate Dana Frantz (29-4) for most wins in a season in 2007. Paez finished the game 2-for-2 with a pair of runs scored and four RBI. Jenks went 2-for-3 and scored a pair of runs in the game.
Paez added one more homer the next day against Valdosta State to up her record to 28 home runs in the 2007 season, while being named a D-II All-American and Daktronics Player of the Year.
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. FGCU would also go on to hit a school record 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 six 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.
Fans will be able to relive all the Top 10 moments 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 against Northwood in one inning in 2007
No. 6 – First Win in Program History against Fla. Southern in 2003
No. 5 – First playoff win against North Alabama in 2006
No. 4 - Winning the USF Tournament in 2009
No. 3 - Comeback doubleheader sweep against North Georgia in 2007
No. 2 - Winning the Hawaii Tournament in 2009
No. 1 – Carmen Paez sets D-II HR Record in 2007