@FGCU_Softball Splits Midweek Double Header
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 | by Jamie Church (@jlchurch)
Kirsten Bembnowski knocked in three runs for the Eagles   Photo Credit: Linwood Ferguson
Kirsten Bembnowski knocked in three runs for the Eagles Photo Credit: Linwood Ferguson
FGCU (9-7-1)
2/26/2014 | Fort Myers, Fla. | Attendance: 50
Win: WAALKES (3-1) 7.041044
Loss: WADE (1-2) 7.042212

FORT MYERS, Fla. – After a close battle with Oakland, the FGCU softball team defeated Eastern Michigan to finish Wednesday’s double header with a split.  With the 1-1 record on the day the Eagles move to 10-7-1 on the season.

After taking a one-run lead early in the first game, the Eagles allowed Oakland to score two runs in the top of the fifth.  Two runs were enough to defeat the Eagles as the home team was unable to respond. The Eagles took a quick one-run lead to begin the second game.  The visiting team pulled ahead briefly but timely hitting by the Green and Blue pushed the team past Eastern Michigan with a 7-2 win.

“I thought we had two pretty good performances in the circle and on defense,” said head coach Dave Deiros.  “Game one came down to them executing on a run-scoring situation and us not being able to get it done in a similar situation. It was almost like the second game was déjà-vu all over again; they had an RBI situation they were able to execute and we finally came around and did some nice things when we had runners in scoring position.  It was a nice effort by our team in the second game to put the first game behind them.  You never want to split, but I’d rather have the momentum of a second-game victory to build the momentum into what we want to do on Friday.”

Kelsey Carpenter (Oviedo, Fla./Hagerty High School) again led the Eagles’ hit production with three hits in six at bats, while Chelsea Zgrabik (Venice, Fla./Venice High School) and Kirsten Bembnowski (Palm Harbor, Fla./East Lake High School) each added three runs batted in for FGCU.

As a unit, the Eagles outscored foes 8-4 in the two-game series and held opponents to an average of .196, while hitting .241.

Game One

After one scoreless inning, the Eagles mounted an attack in the bottom of the second.  With two outs, Brittney Garabedian (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep High School) reached second base on a dropped fly ball to left field.  Freshman Jeanie Verderese (Jacksonville, Fla./Creekside High School) roped a double to center field to score Garadedian and give the Eagles a 1-0 lead after two innings.

The teams were held runless in the third and fourth before the fifth inning gave the visiting team a scoring opportunity. 

The Golden Grizzlies opened the fifth with consecutive singles up the middle.  Two groundouts advanced the runners to second and third before a single to right field scored both runners and gave Oakland a 2-1 lead.

The Eagles produced just one hit in the fifth and sixth innings and were unable to tie the game.  In the bottom of the seventh, Bembnowski singled through the left side to lead off the inning.  Verderese reached on a fielder’s choice and enabled Bembnowski to advance to second on an infield error.  A wild pitch moved the runners to second and third to put two runners in scoring position with two outs.  The Golden Grizzles walked Jessica Barnes (Winter Haven, Fla./Haines City High School) to load the bases and set up Emily Lanier (St. Cloud, Fla./Harmony High School) at the plate.  Lanier struck out swinging to end the game with the bases loaded.  By holding the Eagles in the seventh, the Golden Grizzles took a 2-1 win.

Taylor Wade (Pace, Fla./Pace High School) earned the loss for FGCU to fall to 1-2 on the season.  She allowed two earned runs on four hits through seven innings of work.  Waded struck out two and walked just one.

Game Two

The Eagles held Eastern Michigan scoreless through the first three innings before Verderese led off the bottom of the third with a single to the left side.  Verderese advance to second on a sacrifice bunt from Regan Knapik (Land O’ Lakes, Fla./Wiregrass Ranch High School) and moved to third on a passed ball.  A Mackenzie McAvoy (Plant City, Fla./Plant City High School) single up the middle scored Verderese to put the Eagles ahead 1-0 after three innings.

Eastern Michigan produced three singles in the top of the fourth to load the bases with two outs.  A double to right field scored two runs to give the visiting team a 2-1 lead.

Amanda Byers (North Miami Beach, Fla./Michael Krop High School) and Barnes opened the bottom of the fifth by reaching on consecutive errors by the EMU shortstop before a Carpenter walk loaded the bases.

Zgrabik singled up the middle to score two runs and help FGCU reclaim the lead at 3-2.  With Carpenter at third, Zgrabik stole second and put two runners in scoring position with one out.  As the next batter, Bembnowski knocked a three-run homerun over the left field fence to increase the Eagle’s lead to 6-2 in the fifth inning.

In the sixth, McAvoy reached first on a fielder’s choice that tagged Barnes out at second and moved to second base on a single up the middle from Carpenter.  Another Zgrabik single, coupled with a bobbled play in left field scored McAvoy to bring the score to 7-2 after six innings.

Eastern Michigan produced one hit in the top of the seventh but was unable to mount a comeback.  The Eagles sealed the 7-2 win with a fly out to left field.

Jackie Owen (Cape Coral, Fla./North Fort Myers high School) earned the win for FGCU to move to 2-0 on the year.  Owen allowed two runs to score on six hits through seven complete innings. 

The Green and Blue will return to action after just one day away from competition with the FGCU/Four Points by Sheraton Spring Break Tournament.  The Eagles will take on LIU Brooklyn on Friday, March 28 at 4:45 p.m. and will face Hofstra at 7 p.m. Friday night.  The team will conclude the three-day event with a game against Michigan State on Sunday, March 2 at 2:30 p.m.