@FGCU_Softball Splits First Day of FIU Classic
Friday, February 14, 2014 | by Jamie Church (@jlchurch)
Louie Ross hit two homeruns in the Eagles' two-game day
Louie Ross hit two homeruns in the Eagles' two-game day
Wisconsin (2-4)
FGCU (6-0-1)
2/14/2014 | Miami, Fla. | Attendance: 0
Win: JOSIE (2-0) 6.030003
Loss: Stewart (1-2) 5.098737
Van Abel (WISC) 301000
Peace (WISC) 301000
Mersch (WISC) 201000
ROSS (FGCU) 322302

MIAMI, Fla. – The FGCU softball team opened the FIU Classic with a win over Wisconsin before falling to host FIU on Friday to open the FIU Classic with a 1-1 record.  The Eagles move to 6-1-1 on the year and still maintain the best start in program history.

The Eagles used two homeruns and nine total hits to power past Big Ten power Wisconsin, 8-0, in the afternoon game but fell to FIU on their home field, 7-4.

FGCU saw strong offensive production from several players with junior Kelsey Carpenter (Oviedo, Fla./Hagerty High School) once again leading the pack.  Carpenter knocked in three runs with three hits, while Louie Ross (Cape Coral, Fla./Ida S. Baker High School) also produced three runs batted in with two homeruns on the day.  Jessica Barnes (Winter Haven, Fla./Haines City High School) and Kirsten Bembnowski (Palm Harbor, Fla./East Lake High School) added two RBI each in the win over Wisconsin.

“We played well today,” said head coach Dave Dieros, “Amanda Josie was extremely efficient in our win over Wisconsin. We saw production up and down the lineup with Louie having a huge game off the bench.”

“We gave ourselves chances to win the FIU game but we came up a bit short.  It was a well-played game where they were able to make a few more defensive plays a got a couple more key hits than us.”

Mackenzie McAvoy (Plant City, Fla./Plant City High School) drew a walk from the Wisconsin pitcher in the top of the first inning to give the Eagles their first base runner of the day.  Chelsea Zgrabik (Venice, Fla./Venice High School) singled to left field to put runners on first and second before a double to left field by Bembnowski scored both base runners to give FGCU a 2-0 lead.

Bembnowski advanced to third on a passed ball and scored on an error by the Wisconsin catcher to put the Eagles up 3-0 after one inning.

Taylor Wade (Pace, Fla./Pace High School) doubled to center field as the leadoff batter in the second inning and advanced to third when Brittney Garabedian (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep High School) reached on an infield error.  A sacrifice fly by Barnes scored Wade from third to increase the FGCU advantage to four runs after two innings.

Garadedian reached base on a walk to start the fourth inning before Ross knocked her first homerun out of the park to score two runs for FGCU.  Barnes followed with a solo shot for back-to-back homeruns to give the Green and Blue a 7-0 lead through four innings.

FGCU pitcher Amanda Josie (Estero, Fla./Estero High School) held the Badgers scoreless and allowed just three hits through six innings. 

In the bottom of the sixth, Ross added her second homerun of the day to score one more run for the Eagles to bring the final score to 8-0.

Josie earned her second win of the season with no runs allowed in six complete innings.  She surrendered just three hits, while walking no batters and striking out three.

The Eagles faced the tournament host, FIU, in a 6:30 p.m. game following the win over Wisconsin.

The Panthers singled through the right side to lead off the first inning and took an early 2-0 lead with a homerun from the reigning Conference USA Player of the Year Stephanie Texeira.

After a scoreless second inning, the Eagles responded with a double to center field by Emily Lanier (St. Cloud, Fla./Harmony High School) to lead off the third inning.  Rookie Jeanie Verderese (Jacksonville, Fla./Creekside High School) reached on an error at third base and enabled Lanier to advance to third.

With runners on second and third and two outs, Carpenter doubled to score both runners and tie the game at two.

The Panthers were quick to retaliate and produced four runs in the bottom of the third on four singles, a walk and an FGCU infield error to give the home team a 6-2 lead.

Both teams were held scoreless in the fourth before the Eagles again produced momentum in the top of the fifth.  A double by Verderese followed by a single from Barnes put two runners in scoring position for FGCU with two outs.  Carpenter singled to center field to score Verderese and move the Eagles’ total to three runs.  After Zgrabik walked to load the bases, Ross singled to left field to score Barnes and bring the score to 6-4 after five innings. 

The Panthers added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth when an FIU runner scored from second on a single to left center field.

The Eagles were held to no hits in the bottom of the seventh and in turn dropped their first game of the season, 7-4.

Shelby Morgan (High Springs, Fla./Sante Fe High School) earned the loss with six earned runs in 2.1 innings.  Morgan gave up eight hits and walked two batters.  Wade relieved Morgan in the circle and pitched 3.2 innings with one earned run on five hits.

The Eagles will continue action at the FIU Classic on Sunday with a 10 a.m. game against Georgia Southern.  GSU produced similar results to the Eagles today with a 4-0 win over Wisconsin and an 8-0 loss to FIU.  The Green and Blue’s afternoon schedule will be determined by the results of the tournament’s first six games.