2/13/2013 | Miami, Fla. | Attendance: 0
2/13/2013 | Miami, Fla. | Attendance: 290
MIAMI, Fla. – 2012 A-Sun Regular Season and Conference Champion FGCU (1-1) started the 2013 season by splitting a doubleheader with cross-state opponent FIU (2-5) at the FIU Softball Complex on Wednesday night.
“Great job in the first game today by our entire team especially Emily Lanier coming off the bench and driving in a bunch of runs,” said FGCU head coach David Deiros. “This is a humbling game as what happened in game two was almost the complete opposite, we had the bases loaded twice and only scored one run out of it and we made too many defensive mistakes. We’ll go back at it again and we have a great tournament this weekend so we’re looking forward to getting started.”
In game one, sophomore Shelby Morgan (High Springs, Fla./Santa Fe HS) and Mariah Dawson of FIU kept opposing batters in check with only one run being scored through the first three innings. In the top of the fourth inning with two outs, FGCU loaded the bases and capitalized with pinch hitter Emily Lanier (St. Cloud, Fla./Harmony HS) hitting a double over the center fielder that cleared the bases and put the visiting Eagles up 4-0. The Eagles added two more runs in the same half innings courtesy of Jessica Barnes (Winter Haven, Fla./Haines City HS) and Chelsea Zgrabik (Venice, Fla./Venice HS) hits to give the Eagles a 6-0 lead and a total of five runs scored with two outs.
Lanier returned to the plate with two runners on base for FGCU and no outs in the top of the fifth and crushed a ball deep over the left field wall to give the Green and Blue a 10-0 advantage. The home run gave Lanier a total of 6 RBI in just two at-bats in game one and the double-digit lead was enough to give FGCU a five-inning victory in its 2013 season opener. 2012 A-Sun Pitcher of the Year Morgan struck out four in a three-hit shutout to start the 2013 season 1-0.
Junior pitcher Amanda Josie (Estero, Fla./Estero HS) got the start in game two of the twin billing with Emily Lanier making the start behind the plate after her impressive performance in game one from her pinch hitting role. FGCU threatened offensively in the top of the first by scoring the game’s first run and placing runners in scoring position until FIU made a pitching change. The game turned into a fierce pitching duel with Josie and FIU’s Jenkins being backed by solid defenses. FGCU grabbed a 2-0 lead, but FIU fought back on their home field to tie the game at two in the fifth inning.
Junior transfer Jackie Owen (Cape Coral, Fla./N. Fort Myers HS/Daytona State College) entered the game for Josie with one out in the home half of the fifth and FIU threatening to take the lead. Owen was persistent in her FGCU debut as she retired the first eight batters she faced to put the game into extra innings. After failing to score in the top of the eighth, the Eagles took the field in an attempt to keep FIU from walking off winners. The Golden Panthers capitalized off of the International Tiebreaker rule which gives each team a runner on second base in extra innings. FIU laid down a sacrifice bunt with no outs and a fielding error allowed the FIU runner to cross home plate before the throw reached catcher Emily Lanier. FIU took the contest by a score of 3-2 to grab a split in the mid-week doubleheader.
The two teams have now met a total of 12 times with the Golden Panthers leading the all-time series 8-4 between the in-state foes.
The Green and Blue will head home to Fort Myers and the FGCU Softball Complex for their home opener on Friday, Feb. 15 with a 6:00 p.m. first pitch against Wichita State. The contest will be followed by the sold out matchup between FGCU and 2012 National Champion Alabama.
Both games are part of the LaQuinta Inn at the Airport Tournament that will begin at 9 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 15 with Southern Illinois taking on Appalachian State. The tournament will come to a close on Sunday, Feb. 17 with a total of 15 games to be played over the course of the three day event. All-day passes are still available for Saturday and Sunday with tickets costing $6 for adults and $3 for children ages 3 to 12.
For information on the LaQuinta Inn at the Airport Tournament, including game times and participating teams, visit the Tournament Central page (http://www.fgcuathletics.com/softball/2013LaQuintaTourney/). To purchase tickets for Saturday and Sunday of the LaQuinta Inn at the Airport Tournament, visit the FGCU Ticket Office Monday-Friday from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. or call 239-590-7145 for more information.