3/29/2014 | DeLand, Fla. | Attendance: 84
DeLAND, Fla. – Despite a late rally that added three runs in the final inning, the FGCU softball team struggled to match Stetson’s offensive production and fell to the Hatters 5-4 Saturday evening at Patricia Wilson Field. With the loss the Eagles fall to 19-15-1 on the season with a 4-6 Atlantic Sun mark, while the Hatters improve to 22-5 with a 7-2 conference record.
The Eagles produced four runs on eight hits on the night but allowed the home team to produce five runs on 10 hits. Jessica Barnes (Winter Haven, Fla./Haines City High School) and Chelsea Zgrabik (Venice, Fla./Venice High School) each added homeruns in the final inning to spark the Eagle offense but it was not enough as the home team escaped with the win. Barnes led the team with three hits in four at bats on the night, while also producing two RBI.
“We let too many opportunities slip away early on,” said head coach David Deiros. “We came back and almost pulled it out at the end. We will look to build on that late momentum tomorrow.”
The Eagles started strong and produced a leadoff single from Barnes to open play. Barnes advanced to third on an infield error and crossed the plate with a sacrifice fly to center field from Louie Ross (Cape Coral, Fla./Ida S. Baker High School).
Starting pitcher Shelby Morgan (High Springs, Fla./Sante Fe High School) held Stetson scoreless in the first and second innings but gave up a single to start the third inning.
Stetson’s base runner advanced to third on two-consecutive groundouts and scored an unearned run when the next batter reached on an FGCU infield error. The next Stetson batter flied out to end the inning but not before the home team had tied the score at one run each.
The Hatters added two to their total with a two-run single in the fourth and went ahead 5-1 in the fifth by way of two-consecutive singles and a two RBI double to center field.
The Eagles responded in the top of the sixth as Kelsey Carpenter (Oviedo, Fla./Hagerty High School), Zgrabik and Kirsten Bembnowski (Palm Harbor, Fla./East Lake High School) all singled to load the bases with just one out. FGCU was unable to capitalize on the base runners and finished the sixth inning with a 5-1 deficit.
Regan Knapik (Land O’ Lakes, Fla./Wiregrass Ranch High School) singled to start the seventh inning before Barnes approached the plate with no outs. The junior knocked a shot over the left field fence for a two-run homer and brought the Eagles within two runs.
The next two Eagle batters were called out but Zgrabik added to the Eagle run total again with a solo homerun to centerfield to bring the Green and Blue within one run. The team was unable to add more runs and ultimately fell, 5-4.
Morgan was credited with the loss as she allowed four earned runs to score on 10 hits. She struck out two and walked just one through 4.1 innings of work.
Jackie Owen (Cape Coral, Fla./North Fort Myers High School) pitched 1.2 innings of relief for the Eagles. She allowed no runs, no hits and walked just one batter.
With Saturday’s originally scheduled double header altered due to rain, the Eagles will face off with Stetson in two games on Sunday afternoon. The double header is slated to begin at 1 p.m.