3/19/2013 | Fort Myers, Fla. | Attendance: 108
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Looking to extend its five-game winning streak, the FGCU softball team (21-9, 3-0 A-Sun) played ten innings and used a solo home run to walk off winners against Big 12 member Iowa State, 7-6, behind the bat of Emily Lanier (St. Cloud, Fla./Harmony HS) at the FGCU Softball Complex on Tuesday night.
“That was really a nice effort by our team staying with it all game long and we just have to keep on going at it,” said head coach David Deiros. “We played a lot of kids today, our entire bench that was available, and really did a nice job of performing when it was time so I am proud of our team.”
In a game that saw five lead changes over the course of ten innings, the Eagles benefitted from being the home team as they eliminated the Cyclones with a long ball in the home half of the tenth. FGCU used the win to extend their winning streak to six games, while improving to 13-3 at home in 2013 with ten consecutive wins at the FGCU Softball Complex.
To lead off the bottom of the first, Kelsey Carpenter (Oviedo, Fla./Hagerty HS) drove a ball deep to left field and off of the scoreboard for a solo home run that put FGCU up 1-0 early on.
Iowa State would put runners on base in the top of the second inning to bring across a game-tying run to knot it up at one run apiece. The Cyclones would strike again in the next inning as the visitors used a three-run bomb to take a 4-1 lead on the home field of the Green and Blue.
In the home half of the third, the host Eagles went to work on cutting into the deficit. With one out and the bases loaded, A-Sun Player of the Week Mariah Fernandez (Cape Coral, Fla./North Fort Myers HS) needed to come through for FGCU and she did just that with a single into right field that brought two across, making it a one-run ball game. A sacrifice fly from Emily Lanier would drive in a runner from third to make it a 4-4 game and tie it up.
Hannah Horwath (Lake Mary, Fla./Lake Mary HS) then stepped to the plate in her second at bat of the game in a starting role as the designated player with runners on first and second and two outs, still in the bottom of the third. Horwath hit a sharp grounder and reached base after the ball skipped off of the Iowa State shortstop and into the outfield to bring across the go-ahead run, putting FGCU up 5-4 at the end of three.
On a one-run homerun in the bottom of the first, the Cyclones tied the game at five runs each to send it into the bottom of the seventh. The Eagles looked to walk off winners in the home half of the seventh, but were unable to capitalize with the bases loaded and no outs.
With the game having turned to the eighth inning, Iowa State used an infield single to bring a Cyclone runner across and take a 6-5 lead in a game that was back and forth from the start.
In the bottom of the eighth with Iowa State one out away from the victory, Kirsten Bembnowski (Palm Harbor, Fla./East Lake HS) singled into right field to move Fernandez to third, with Fernandez advancing home on an errant throw from the Cyclone outfielder to pull even and send it into the ninth inning.
Once the FGCU Softball Complex scoreboard was reset due to the game going into the tenth inning, Lanier stepped into the box with one out to face Iowa State’s Tori Torrescano who was through 9.1 innings of work on the night. After being unable to add an insurance run with the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth earlier in the night, Lanier drove a moonshot over the fence to give the Eagles a 7-6 walk-off win.
“Great job by Emily to go ahead and end it because she was a little disappointed that we wasn’t able to do it earlier,” stated coach Deiros after the Eagles soaked in the extra-inning win.
The Green and Blue will retake the field at the FGCU Softball Complex on Thursday, March 21 for a doubleheader against Dartmouth that will close out an eight-game home stand for FGCU, with the Eagles currently 6-0 through the first six games. The first game of the twin billing will begin at 4 p.m. with the second game to start immediately after the conclusion of game one.
For tickets, visit www.FGCUATHLETICS.com/tickets online or call the FGCU ticket office at 239-590-7145. Tickets are also available for purchase upon entrance to the FGCU Softball Complex.
In-game Twitter updates (@FGCU_Softball), results and a recap from the day’s action will be available at www.FGCUATHLETICS.com.