@FGCU_Softball Readies for League-Favorite USC Upstate On ESPN3
Friday, March 21, 2014 | by Jason MacBain (@jabain)
FGCU (19-12-1, 4-3 A-Sun)
USC Upstate (27-4, 8-2 A-Sun)
3/22/2014 | Spartanburg, S.C. | Attendance: 244
USC Upstate0030058101
Win: SHUBERT (12-1) 6.070015
Loss: MORGAN (7-4) 5.196612

FGCU Head Coach David Derios: 475-196-3 (12th season)
USC Upstate Head Coach Chris Hawkins: 607-303-1 (20th season)

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The FGCU softball team will travel to South Carolina this weekend to face defending Atlantic Sun Champion USC Upstate in a three-game series. The matchup will begin with a double header at 1 p.m. on Saturday with both games being showcased live on ESPN3, and will conclude with a single contest at 1 p.m. on Sunday.

Setting The Stage

The Eagles hold a record of 19-11-1 after sweeping a double header against UConn on Wednesday. FGCU is in fourth place in the conference with a 4-2 record, having played Lipscomb and ETSU thus far.

USC Upstate was nationally ranked a few weeks ago after starting the season with 19 straight wins and is currently receiving votes in both national polls. Since then, the Spartans have gone 7-4 to boast an overall record of 26-4 and an A-Sun record of 7-2, good for second place in the league. Upstate was selected as the favorite in the preseason coaches’ poll, with FGCU being picked second.


The games on Saturday will be the first softball contests broadcast on ESPN3 by USC Upstate. Fans can access the production free of charge by following the link at the top of this release or by logging on to ESPN3.com. Users can also follow the broadcast via the WatchESPN app. For more information about ESPN3, click here: http://bit.ly/1evnc1i.

The Series

FGCU owns a 7-6 lead in the all-time series with all games being played since both schools moved to Division I and the A-Sun in 2008. Upstate is 5-1 against the Eagles all-time at Cyrill Stadium.

Last year, the Green and Blue took two of the three games against the Spartans, sweeping a doubleheader in commanding fashion by a combined score of 13-3 before falling short in the finale, 3-0. Upstate won the 2013 A-Sun tournament out of the No. 2 seed, while FGCU was the No. 3 seed.

The Green and Blue

Kelsey Carpenter (Oviedo, Fla./Hagerty High School) has consistently led the Eagles this season at the plate and currently tops the roster with a batting average of .455 to rank among the top 50 in the nation. Carpenter holds a .979 fielding percentage in the outfield and paces the team with six home runs and 31 RBI through 31 games. Carpenter has also added eight doubles and crossed the plate 27 times.

Chelsea Zgrabik (Venice, Fla/Venice HS) adds an average of .342 for FGCU with 27 hits in 79 at bats. Zgrabik has also hit five hits over the fence and has knocked in 25 runs. Three other Eagles, including Taylor Wade (Pace, Fla./Pace High School), Jessica Barnes (Winter Haven, Fla./Haines City High School) and Mackensie McAvoy (Plant City, Fla./Plant City High School) also have a batting averages of .300 or higher.

Offensively, FGCU has a combined average of .277 and has outscored its opponents, 137-99.

The FGCU pitching staff is led by Wade as she maintains an ERA of 2.51 and holds a record of 3-3 in the circle.  Wade has allowed just 14 earned runs through 39 innings of work. Shelby Morgan (High Springs, Fla./Sante Fe High School) has an ERA of 2.88 in 12 appearances. She has started 10 games for the Eagles and has allowed 21 earned runs in 57.1 innings. 

The pitching staff holds a collective ERA of 2.70 and has struck out 84 batters and held opponents to a batting average of just 2.69.

USC Upstate

USC Upstate is led by juniors Shellie Robinson and Dana Landers. Robinson maintains a .406 batting average and has 39 hits, 30 RBI and 10 home runs. Landers boasts a .385 batting average with 37 hits, 21 RBI and four home runs in 30 contests.

From the circle the Spartans are led by freshman Lexi Shubert and senior Hannah Alexander. Shubert has a record of 11-1 with 86 strikeouts and an ERA of 1.02. Alexander has a record of 6-1 with 46 strikeouts with an ERA of 1.16.

The Spartans’ non-conference game at Charlotte scheduled for Wednesday was canceled due to poor field conditions. Upstate has not played since sweeping a three-game A-Sun series at North Florida last weekend.

Saturday’s doubleheader will serve as Upstate’s Strikeout Cancer event in coordination with NFCA and the American Cancer Society.

Head coach Chris Hawkins, in his 20th season at Upstate, has won 705 games in his career. The Spartans finished the 2013 season with a program-record 42 wins and the nation’s top defense with a .981 fielding percentage.

Next Up

FGCU will continue its road trip when it takes on Stetson (18-5, 3-2 A-Sun) next weekend. The Eagles and Hatters will play a three-game series beginning on Saturday, Mar. 29, with a double header at 1 p.m. The two teams will then battle on Sunday, Mar. 30, with a first pitch scheduled for 1 p.m.

Tickets for all FGCU softball games are available at a cost of $6 for adults and $3 for children.  Tickets provide entrance to the entire day of the tournament.  For more ticket information and additional deals, visit FGCUathletics.com/tickets, or call or visit the ticket office at 239-590-7145.