4/2/2014 | Fort Myers, Fla. | Attendance: 194
4/2/2014 | Fort Myers, Fla. | Attendance: 194
FORT MYERS, FLA. - The FGCU softball team split a pair of games with cross-state foe FIU Wednesday night at the FGCU Softball Complex. The Eagles earned a 6-5 win in game one before falling 6-4 in the second game. The Eagles move to 20-18-1 on the year after a strong showing against the Conference USA opponent.
The Eagles earned a walk-off win in game one with an RBI walk from Brittney Garabedian (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep) in the bottom of the seventh inning. In game two, the Panthers produced six runs in the first two innings and stopped each chance the Eagles had to even the game.
“Today was an opportunity for us to work on some of the things that we’ve been trying in practice,” said head coach David Deiros. “I thought we did a good job executing some of the things we wanted to do today. Anytime you can get a win against a top-50 team like FIU, you go ahead and take it. We had some chances in the second game but we let them get away from us. It’s back to the drawing board and back to what we need to be doing, which is focusing on our next conference series.”
Kelsey Carpenter (Oviedo, Fla./Hagerty High School) and Chelsea Zgrabik (Venice, Fla/Venice High School) led the Eagles’ offense in the double header. Carpenter produced four hits in five at bats with four RBI, while Zgrabik had three hits including two homeruns in the second game. The senior catcher knocked in three runs on the night.
Game one proved to be a hit fest for both teams as the opponents combined for 21 hits and 11 runs in the seven-inning matchup. The Eagles produced nine hits but ultimately won on the drawn walk from Garabedian.
FIU opened the game with a walk before a double to center field scored the runner to put the visitors ahead 1-0.
The Eagles quickly responded as Jessica Barnes (Winter Haven, Fla./Haines City High School) walked to lead off and stole second. Barnes moved to third on a bunt and scored to tie the game on a single up the middle by Carpenter.
With runners on first and second, Zgrabik walked to load the bases as Louie Ross (Cape Coral, Fla./Ida S. Baker High School) approached the plate. Ross reached on a fielder’s choice that tagged Zgrabik but allowed Makensie McAvoy (Plant City, Fla./Plant City High School) to score and give the home team the lead. The Eagles extended the lead to 3-1 when Garbedian singled to left field and knocked in Carpenter.
In the top of the second, the Panthers produced five hits and scored two runs to tie the game. The Eagles stopped the FIU attack and left two runners on.
Singles from Jeanie Verderese (Jacksonville, Fla./Creekside High School), Barnes and McAvoy loaded the bases for Carpenter in the bottom of the second. Carpenter hit a sacrifice fly to right field to score Verderese and reclaim the lead for the Eagles at 4-3.
Both teams were held scoreless in the third and fourth, before the Eagles added one run on a Carpenter homer in the bottom of the fifth. The bomb was Carpenter’s seventh of the season.
FIU did not back down and added two runs to tie the game at six in the top of the sixth. The Panthers produced two runs on a two-run homer over the left-field wall to even the score again.
The Eagles sent the top of the order to the batter’s box in the bottom of the seventh with the score still knotted. Barnes immediately hit a triple to the fence in right center to open the inning for the home team. Hannah Horwath (Lake Mary, Fla./Lake Mary High School) grounded out for the first out of the inning before the Panthers intentionally walked both Carpenter and Zgrabik. Ross fouled out as the Eagles’ second out before Garabedian took the batter’s box. Garabedian worked her at bat to seven pitches before drawing a walk on the payoff pitch. The walk scored Barnes from third to give the Eagles a walk-off win, 6-5.
Taylor Wade (Pace, Fla./Pace High School) started the game in the circle for the Eagles but Amanda Josie (Estero, Fla./Estero High School) earned the win for the Green and Blue. Wade allowed three earned runs on nine hits through four innings, while Josie gave up just two runs on three hits in three innings. Josie moved to 6-6 on the season with the victory.
FIU opened the second game with two-consecutive walks before a single to left center scored the first run of the evening contest. The Panthers produced another single later in the inning to take a 2-0 lead before the Eagles ended the inning leaving two runners on base.
FGCU again responded in the bottom of the first as Barnes led off with a single up the left-field line. McAvoy moved Barnes to second on a sacrifice bunt before Barnes took third on a throwing error by the catcher. Another Carpenter single scored Barnes from third to put the home team on the scoreboard.
As the next batter, Zgrabik hit her eighth homer of the season. Zgrabik’s blast to centerfield cleared the fence and scored two runs to put FGCU up, 3-2.
The Panthers retaliated in the top of the second and score four runs on four hits. The inning included two singles, a stolen base, a wild pitch and a triple for FIU as the visiting team reclaimed the lead.
Both teams were held scoreless in the third, fourth and fifth innings.
In the bottom of the sixth, Zgrabik hit her second homerun of the game with a deep-shot to left field. The homer brought the Eagles within two runs but FGCU was unable to cut the deficit before the game ended.
Jackie Owen (Cape Coral, Fla./North Fort Myers High School) took the loss for FGCU to move to 4-4 on the season. Owen allowed five earned runs on five hits in just 1.1 innings before leaving the game. Josie and Shelby Morgan (High Springs, Fla./Sante Fe High School) pitched a combined 5.2 innings of relief work. Josie allowed one run on two hits and struck out two batters, while Morgan held the Panthers scoreless but allowed three hits in three innings.
FGCU will return to the FGCU Softball Complex to take on conference opponent Kennesaw State (18-16; 7-4 A-Sun) in a three-game series this weekend. The Eagles and Owls will begin battle on Saturday, April 5, with the first pitch of the series scheduled for 2 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.