4/6/2014 | Fort Myers, Fla. | Attendance: 375
FORT MYERS, Fla. – The FGCU softball team hosted Atlantic Sun Conference opponent Kennesaw State in the final game of three-game series Sunday afternoon looking for the sweep, but a late KSU home run gave the Owls a 2-1 win at the FGCU Softball Complex. The Eagles fell to 22-19-1 overall and 6-9 in conference play, while the Owls improved to 19-21 and 8-9 in A-Sun action.
The game was scoreless until the bottom of the 6th when the Eagles got on the board first. FGCU took that 1-0 lead into the 7th inning, but a two-out, two-run home run by Kennesaw State following an FGCU error prevented the Eagles from completing the sweep.
“First of all it’s a series win for us which moves us a little bit closer to where we want to be,” said head coach David Deiros. “It’s disappointing that we were one out away from the sweep and we just didn’t get the job done, but you have to give Kennesaw State credit for sticking in there and coming up with the big hit when they needed it. We had a couple of chances to break the game open and we didn’t get it done.”
Shelby Morgan (High Springs, Fla./Sante Fe High School) started for FGCU and went four shutout innings in which she allowed only three hits and struck out one before Amanda Josie (Estero, Fla./Estero High School) came in to throw the final three innings. Josie was equally impressive, but took the unfortunate loss after tossing three innings, allowing both runs – but neither of which was earned. At the plate, Louie Ross (Cape Coral, Fla./Ida S. Baker High School) and Jessica Barnes (Winter Haven, Fla./Haines City High School) both had two hits each for the Eagles, who are now in sole possession of sixth place in the league standings.
In a rematch of Saturday’s game one matchup, Morgan faced Owls’ senior Amanda Henderson. Both pitchers came out dealing as each kept the opposition off the board through the first four innings, allowing only three hits in that time.
The Eagles threatened in the bottom of the 2nd when Ross lofted a double over the center fielder to lead off the inning which was then followed by a walk to Brittney Garabedian (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep High School). Kirsten Bembnowski (Palm Harbor, Fla./East Lake HS) executed a sac bunt to perfection to put runners on second and third and give the Green and Blue two cracks at driving in a pair of runs. However, Henderson induced a ground out and foul out to escape the jam.
After working four pristine shutout innings in which junior Morgan threw merely 46 pitches, Josie came into the game to close it out. The 5-11 senior also pitched Saturday, claiming the win in the second game of the double header with a complete-game performance.
The Eagles finally put an end to the back-and-forth pitcher’s duel in the bottom half of the 6th. Barnes smashed a ball right at the Owls’ third baseman that deflected off her glove and deep into foul territory. Barnes used her speed to round first and reach second before an unsuspecting Owls’ defense could recover. Makensie McAvoy (Plant City, Fla./Plant City High School) dropped a textbook sacrifice bunt to advance Barnes to third before Kelsey Carpenter (Oviedo, Fla./Hagerty High School) came to bat. The righty-hitting junior slapped a ground ball through the hole in the left side to bring in Barnes and put the Green and Blue in front, 1-0.
The lead was short-lived, however, as the Owls struck late in the 7th. With two outs and runner on first courtesy of an Eagles’ error, KSU senior Carly Van Auken laced a ball just over the right-field fence for a two-run homer and a 2-1 lead. The Eagles couldn’t muster a comeback in the bottom of the frame as Henderson hurled a solid final inning to earn the win. The right-hander improved her record to 15-9 on the season, while Josie absorbed her first loss of the weekend despite a strong showing, dropping to 7-7 on the year.
The Eagles return to action on Wednesday, Apr. 9, at the FGCU Softball Complex against Florida Atlantic University. First pitch for game one of the doubleheader is set for 5 p.m. The Eagles are back in A-Sun action next weekend at Jacksonville on Saturday and Sunday, Apr. 12-13.