Offense in Game Two Lifts Softball to Split Against USC Upstate
Saturday, April 21, 2012 | by Justin Glover (@Jglove3)
Photo by Dennis Snyder
Photo by Dennis Snyder
FGCU (31-22, 11-4 A-Sun)
USC Upstate (35-8, 8-3 A-Sun)
4/21/2012 | Spartanburg, S.C. | Attendance: 255
USC Upstate000200X252
Win: ALEXANDER (24-3) 7.051031
Loss: MORGAN (18-6) 6.052211
BARNES (FGCU) 201010
KNAPIK (FGCU) 311000

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – After dropping a pitcher’s duel in game one, the Eagles’ offense came alive with eight runs on 15 hits to help salvage a split for the FGCU softball team against Atlantic Sun foe USC Upstate (L 2-1, W 8-6) on Saturday night at Cyrill Stadium in Spartanburg, S.C.  

The Eagles are 32-22 (12-4 A-Sun) on the season, while USC Upstate sits at 35-9 (8-4 A-Sun). With the split, FGCU falls back into a tie for first-place in the A-Sun with Kennesaw State (12-4) who swept Belmont earlier in the afternoon.  

Sophomore Chelsea Zgrabik (Venice, Fla./Venice HS) continued her hot streak with a 4-for-7 effort in the doubleheader, including the go-ahead two-run home run in the second game. Zgrabik is hitting .451 with seven home runs and 23 RBI against conference opponents.

In game one, the Spartans snapped FGCU’s eight-game winning streak with a close 2-1 victory thanks to a two-run home run from freshman Cheyenne Griffin in the fourth inning.

USC Upstate’s Hannah Alexander (24-3) outdueled FGCU’s freshman Shelby Morgan (High Springs, Fla./Santa Fe HS) in a matchup of Ace’s in game one. Alexander threw seven innings, allowing five hits on no earned runs. Morgan (18-6) picked up the loss after tossing six innings, allowing five hits and two earned runs.

In the top of the third, the Eagles took the lead when sophomore Regan Knapik (Land O’Lakes, Fla./Wiregrass Ranch HS) singled down the right field line and advanced to second on an error. Sophomore Jessica Barnes (Winter Haven, Fla./Haines City HS) laid down a bunt and beat the throw for a base hit, allowing Knapik to score off a throwing error by the catcher.

The Spartans answered in the bottom of the fourth when with one out Ericka Harris singled, followed by a two-run home run from Griffin, her second of the season, to give the Spartans a 2-1 lead.

FGCU had a chance to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh as sophomore Tori Williams (Dunnellon, Fla./Dunnellon HS) lined a pinch-hit single up the middle to begin the frame. Freshman Kelsey Carpenter (Oviedo, Fla./Hagerty HS) re-entered to run and moved over to second after a sacrifice bunt from junior Kayla Gabel (Lakeland, Fla./State College of Florida). Alexander would shut the door with back-to-back ground outs to finish the game.

In game two, FGCU scored eight runs on 15 hits and held on for a 8-6 win against the Spartans to split the doubleheader on the road.     

The Green and Blue took an early lead after Barnes opened the game with a single and junior Mariah Fernandez (Cape Coral, Fla./North Fort Myers HS) blasted a home run to left field to give the Eagles a 2-0 lead.

FGCU added to its lead in the top of the third when Fernandez was hit by a pitch, while sophomore Emily Lanier (St. Cloud, Fla./Harmony HS) singled to put runners on first and second. Zgrabik singled to left field to load the bases with no outs. Sophomore Kirsten Bembnowski (Palm Harbor, Fla./East Lake HS) earned a sacrifice fly to right field to score Fernandez, giving the Eagles a 3-0 lead.

USC Upstate answered in the bottom of the fourth as Harris singled to the shortstop with one out. Griffin followed with her second home run of the doubleheader to cut the Eagles lead to 3-2. Freshman Shellie Robinson, who had been hitless in her previous four at bats, went back-to-back to tie the game at 3-3.

The Spartans were threatening again in the bottom of the fourth when Maddison Kieffer and Kendall Settlemyre lined back-to-back singles with one out. Redshirt senior Morgan Campen (Rougemont, N.C./Northern HS) was called into the game to spell sophomore starter Amanda Josie (Estero, Fla./Estero HS). Campen induced a wild double play to end the inning as Haley Reinfeld grounded out to second and pinch-runner Katelyn Molkenthin was thrown out at the plate, keeping the game tied.

In the top of the fifth, FGCU regained the lead as Fernandez singled to left field to start the frame. Alexander, winner from game one, came in relief looking to keep the game tied gave up the leadoff single. After a groundout, Alexander faced Zgrabik who launched a two-run home run to left field to take a 5-3 lead against the Spartans.

The Green and Blue kept hitting in the top of the sixth as sophomore Brittney Garabedian (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep HS) singled, followed by a pinch-hit single from Williams to put runners on first and second. Barnes doubled to centerfield to plate Garabedian and knock Alexander out of the game. After a strikeout, Lanier singled up the middle to score Williams and Barnes to give FGCU a commanding 8-3 lead.   

USC Upstate answered again with a long ball in the bottom of the sixth as Lewis walked to open the inning. Haley Sheehan roped a double with one out to put runners on second and third. Kieffer cut the lead to two with a three-run home run to centerfield. Morgan came in relief of Campen and induced two outs to end the threat.

In the bottom of the seventh, Morgan finished the game with a 1-2-3 inning to earn her first save of the season. Campen earned the win in relief to improve to 3-5 on the year and the Spartan’s Alexander allowed five hits on five earned runs to earn the loss.  

Live stats, in-game Twitter updates (@FGCUEagles), results and recaps will be available at