FORT MYERS, Fla. – After claiming a share of the Atlantic Sun conference regular season title, five FGCU softball players picked up postseason honors on Tuesday, highlighted by freshman Shelby Morgan (High Springs, Fla./Santa Fe HS) being named Pitcher of the Year, announced by the league office. The A-Sun All-Conference teams are voted on by the conference head coaches.
“I am very proud of this group of players who were recognized on the postseason teams,” said head coach David Deiros. “Their individual success helped us earn the No. 1 seed and a share of the regular season title. They all worked hard as a team and it is great to see the conference award these players for their efforts.”
Joining Morgan on the A-Sun All-Conference first team is sophomore catcher Chelsea Zgrabik (Venice, Fla./Venice HS), who was a unanimous selection, and sophomore outfielder Jessica Barnes (Winter Haven, Fla./Haines City HS). Sophomores Kirsten Bembnowski (Palm Harbor, Fla./East Lake) and Emily Lanier (St. Cloud, Fla./Harmony) second team honors, while Morgan was a unanimous selection to the All-Freshmen team.
This is Morgan’s first All-Conference honor becoming the first-ever Eagle to earn Pitcher of the Year honors. She also was a unanimous All-Freshmen team selection for the Green and Blue.
Morgan is having an outstanding freshman campaign with a 20-6 overall record with a 1.37 ERA, which is 20th in the nation. The High Springs, Fla. product was even better in A-Sun games holding opponents to a league-best .171 batting average and had three shutouts against Kennesaw State, Lipscomb and ETSU. Morgan finished the conference season with an 8-1 record on eight complete games and an A-Sun leading 0.68 ERA.
Picked as a unanimous first team catcher, Zgrabik led the A-Sun in multiple categories during conference play including, home runs (8), RBI (24), average (.439), hits (25), Slugging percentage (.965), doubles (6) and total bases (55). The Venice, Fla native had 12 multi-hit games and 13 multi-RBI games for the Eagles. She blasted two home runs against ETSU, including a grand slam and enters postseason play with a 10-game hitting streak.
Rounding out the first team honors, Barnes earns her first postseason honor after leading the team with 24 stolen bases, while batting leadoff. Barnes had a breakout sophomore season leading the team with 42 runs scored and was second on the team with a .319 batting average. The Winter Haven, Fla. product had 10 multi-hit games and four multi-RBI contests. Her six home runs were third on the team and she was third in the A-Sun with 33 walks. Barnes had a huge series against Jacksonville helping the Eagles sweep the Dolphins with a home run, three RBI and a game winning single to win game two.
FGCU landed two players on the All-Conference second team with Bembnowski picking up her second postseason accolade after landing on the All-Freshmen team last season. Bembnowski was stellar at third base with 115 assists, while offensively posting a .302 average with 11 multi-hit outings and five multi-RBI games. The Palm Harbor, Fla. product hit five home runs, nine doubles and tied for third on the team with 26 RBI. Bembnowski was second in fielding percentage (.981) for infielders having only three errors on the season.
Joining Bembnowski on the second team, Lanier earned her second postseason award after being named to the All-Freshmen team last year. Lanier led the league in on base percentage (.525) during league play and was fifth with a .378 batting average. The St. Cloud, Fla. native had eight multi-hit and multi-RBI games. Lanier was tied for third in the A-Sun with 11 doubles and was third on the team with a .308 batting average.
The Green and Blue finished the regular season with a 34-22 record and a 14-4 mark in the A-Sun. The Eagles are going into their first-ever postseason tournament as the No. 1 seed after claiming their second A-Sun regular season title.
FGCU will play the winner of the game between fourth-seeded Lipscomb and fifth-seeded Jacksonville on Wednesday, May 9 at 3 p.m. The Eagles await the winner on Thursday, May 10 at 12:30 at Cyrill Stadium on the campus of USC Upstate.