(24-20-1, 7-9 ASun)
(14-25, 5-13 ASun)
4/12/2014 | Jacksonville, Fla. | Attendance: 73
(24-21-1, 7-10 ASun)
(15-25, 6-13 ASun)
4/12/2014 | Jacksonville, Fla. | Attendance: 87
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The FGCU softball team split the first two of three games played against the Dolphins of Jacksonville University Saturday afternoon at the JU Softball Complex. The Eagles earned a 4-2 win in the series opener before falling 7-6 in the late afternoon game. The Eagles improve to 24-21-1 on the season with a 7-10 mark in Atlantic Sun action.
Backed by power hitting, the Green and Blue earned a victory in game one before falling behind in game two. The Eagles used two runs in the sixth inning to claim the lead but the home team retaliated to take back the advantage and ultimately take the win. Both games saw 20 hits between the two teams, with the Eagles producing 10 in the first game and 12 in the second game.
“I’m encouraged by the way we swung the bats today,” said head coach David Deiros. “We have a chance to win the series tomorrow. We need to put all three phases together to make that happen.”
The Eagles made an immediate impact at Jacksonville as Jessica Barnes (Winter Haven, Fla./Haines City High School) led off the game with a solo homerun to put the Eagles up 1-0. After Makensie McAvoy (Plant City, Fla./Plant City High School) reached on an infield error as the next batter, Chelsea Zgrabik (Venice, Fla./Venice High School) moved the lead to 3-0 with a two-run homer over the right-center wall. The shot was the senior’s 12th of the season.
Both teams were held scoreless in the second and third before the Eagles added to their total in the fourth. Louie Ross (Cape Coral, Fla./Ida S. Baker High School) started the inning with a single to the shortstop and advanced to third on a double from Brittney Garabedian (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep). After Garabedian’s extra-base hit, Kirsten Bembnowski (Palm Harbor, Fla./East Lake High School) singled to score a run and increase the Eagle lead to 4-0.
The home team responded in the bottom of the fourth with two runs on four hits but was unable to match the Eagles’ score through the remainder of the game.
Shelby Morgan (High Springs, Fla./Sante Fe High School) earned the win for FGCU with just two earned runs scored through seven complete innings.
The Eagles again started strong in the top of the first with a leadoff single from Barnes. Barnes stole second and moved to third on a McAvoy single to left field. A Kelsey Carpenter (Oviedo, Fla./Hagerty High School) single scored Barnes from third to give the Eagles a 1-0 lead. The Green and Blue increased its lead to 2-0 on a two-out Garabedian RBI single.
The Dolphins responded in the third with a solo homerun to bring the score to 2-1 after three innings. The home team added to its run total and took the lead in the fourth with a walk, two-consecutive singles and a homerun to bring the score to 5-2.
Zgrabik drew a walk to start the fifth inning with Amanda Byers (North Miami Beach, Fla./Michael Krop High School) pinch running for the senior. Byers advanced to second on a wild pitch and moved to third on a single from Carpenter.
With no outs, Ross reached on a fielder’s choice that threw out Byers at home but left two runners on. Bembnowski singled to load the bases as Hannah Horwath (Lake Mary, Fla./Lake Mary High School) approached the plate. Horwath reached on an error in left field that allowed two runs to cross the plate for FGCU, bringing the score to 5-4 in favor of the home team.
The Eagles captured the lead in the top of the sixth with a two-run homerun from Ross that also scored Carpenter. The homer gave FGCU a 6-5 lead but it was shortlived.
JU retaliated with a solo homerun in the bottom of the sixth to tie the game at six runs each. After an Eagles pitching change, the Dolphins put two more runners on base in the inning and scored an unearned run on an infield error to reclaim the lead at 7-6. The Dolphins loaded the bases with just one out but saw as the final two batters struck out and grounded out to leave three runners stranded.
With a single from Barnes and Zgrabik reaching on an error, the Eagles put two runners on base in the top of the seventh but were unable to even the score and fell 7-6 to split the double header.
Amanda Josie (Estero, Fla./ Estero High School) earned the game-two loss for FGCU. She pitched 5.1 innings with six earned runs on seven hits.
The Eagles will have a chance to earn the series win as they continue the three-game series with Jacksonville. The teams will battle in the final game on Sunday afternoon before FGCU returns to Fort Myers next weekend. The Eagles will host conference foe North Florida (23-18; 7-11 A-Sun) in a three-game series next weekend at the FGCU Softball Complex. The Eagles and Ospreys will begin the matchup Friday, April 18, with the first pitch of the series scheduled for 5 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.