Eagles Make History with Upset Victory Against No. 5 seed Florida at NCAA Regionals
Friday, May 18, 2012 | by Justin Glover @Jglove3)
Play Video Photos by Ron Irby
Photos by Ron Irby
FGCU (38-22)
#6 Florida (46-12)
5/18/2012 | Gainesville, Fla. | Attendance: 1345
Win: MORGAN (23-6) 7.051124
Loss: Rogers (27-7) 7.062229
LANIER (FGCU) 312101
Haeger (UF) 302100

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – In game number 60 of the season, the FGCU softball team earned an upset victory against fifth-seeded Florida, thanks to a pair of solo home runs from sophomores Kirsten Bembnowski (Palm Harbor, Fla./East Lake HS) and Emily Lanier (St. Cloud, Fla./Harmony HS) as the Eagles defeated the Gators, 2-1, in front of a crowd of 1,345 at the Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.

“It was an impressive victory for our entire team,” said head coach Dave Deiros. “We did a nice job with our pitching and with our defense and we came up with some timely hitting in some big spots. We needed to make sure that we kept them fighting back and fighting desperate. I think in the last inning, they were pressing a little bit and they swung at a lot of first pitches. I’m really proud of our kids for doing a good job today.

The Eagles are now 38-22 on the season and have won seven in a row, while the fifth-seeded Gators fall to 46-12. With the win, FGCU advances to the winner’s bracket game against USF on Saturday, May 18 at 1 p.m. at Pressly Stadium. Florida will play UCF in the loser’s bracket game starting on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. The victory marks the first-ever NCAA Tournament win for any program at FGCU and it is the first time the FGCU softball team has defeated Florida in school history.

“We’re jumping from the University of Florida, the No. 6 team in the country, to the University of South Florida, said Deiros. “USF is a very disciplined and a very well taught team. We have to come out and play well. This is the first NCAA tournament win for any FGCU program, but I don’t want to set this as our final piece. We’ve got more work to do and we’ve got some more firsts to put on our mantle piece and that’s what we’re going to try and accomplish.”

The A-Sun Tournament MVP and A-Sun Pitcher of the Year freshman Shelby Morgan (High Springs, Fla./Santa Fe HS) picked up her 23rd win of the season, throwing a complete game allowing just one earned run on five hits with four strikeouts. Morgan finished the win with a three-pitch three out bottom of the seventh to seal the victory for the Eagles.

Lanier went 2-for-3 in the game with a solo home run and a double to right center, while Bembnowski had a 1-for-2 effort with a solo home run.

FGCU struck first after Bembnowski blasted a one-out solo home run to left field, her sixth of the season, to give the Eagles a 1-0 lead.

Florida answered in the bottom of the third as Lauren Haeger drove a two-out hit up the middle to even the score at 1-1. Briana Little started the inning with a base hit, followed by a strikeout from Katie Medina for the first out. Little stole second after Morgan battled and struck out Michelle Moultrie on a 3-2 pitch looking for out number two. Jess Damico kept the inning alive with an infield hit to put runners on first and third to setup Haeger's RBI single.

In the top of the sixth, the Green and Blue regained the lead for good with a one-out solo home run from Lanier, her sixth of the year, to give FGCU a 2-1 lead.

The Green and Blue’s defense was stellar again with 16 assists, including 11 by the left side of the infield in sophomore Regan Knapik (Land O’Lakes, Fla./Wiregrass Ranch HS) and Bembnowski.

Haegar led the Gators with a 2-for-3 effort at the plate as Morgan held them to just five hits on the night.

Live stats, in-game Twitter updates (@FGCUSoftball), video coverage on Gatorvision.TV, results and recaps will be available at www.FGCUAthletics.com. for tomorrow’s game.

Photo Credit: Ron Irby

Photo Credit: Ron Irby

Photo Credit: Ron Irby