Softball Gets Split on Day Two in Clearwater
No. 38 FGCU (11-5) finished with a split in its games against Kent State and Providence, after a 3-1 defeat and 10-2 five inning victory, on day two of the USF Under Armour Invitational at the Eddie C. Moore Complex on Saturday.
“For us today it is not a question of whether we got knocked down or not, it is how we were going to get back up and I am really proud of the way our kids came back against Providence.” said head coach David Deiros. “We really did a good job to taking it to them early and putting them away, super job by all of our team.”
In the game’s first day, Shelby Morgan (High Springs, Fla./Santa Fe HS) got the first two Kent State batters she faced to strike out swinging and after allowing a base hit and hitting a batter with an errant pitch, escaped the first inning threat by getting her third out of the inning with a strikeout looking.
Through the first two innings in game one, both starting pitchers were locked in as the pair allowed just two hits and combined for seven strikeouts with four of them coming from FGCU’s Morgan.
With two outs in the top of the third and runners on first and second, both courtesy of walks, Kelsey Carpenter (Oviedo, Fla./Hagerty HS) singled up the middle to bring in Kayla Gabel (Lakeland, Fla./ State College of Florida) from second for the first run of the game, giving FGCU a 1-0 lead.
Kent State remained in the game as they brought across a run on an infield single to tie the game at one in the home half of the frame.
The Golden Flashes got to FGCU starting pitcher Shelby Morgan and did not let her escape unscathed like she did earlier in the contest. The Flashes used opportune hitting to bring across two runs and take a 3-1 lead on FGCU in the bottom of the fourth. With the bases loaded and one out in the same half inning, Kirsten Bembnowski (Palm Harbor, Fla./East Lake HS) snagged a liner out of mid-air and dove to tag out the runner on third for an unassisted double play to bring the inning to an end and prevent any further damage.
Kent State started to make more noise on the base paths off of a ground rule double and walk with no outs force a Green and Blue pitching change in the home half of the fifth inning.Jackie Owen (Cape Coral, Fla./Daytona State College)entered in relief for Morgan and retired three straight courtesy of a strikeout and an unconventional double play that included a fly out to right field and a 9-5-4 put out at second base to catch a runner trying to advance to end the inning.
At the start of the seventh inning in a last ditch effort to make a push, FGCU substitutions made in the bottom of the fifth had a chance to make their presence felt at the plate. With one out Louie Ross was hit by an errant pitch to put an Eagle runner on base. After another FGCU batter was retired, Jessica Barnes (Winter Haven, Fla./Haines City HS) dug into the batter’s box and struck a sharp, bouncing grounder at the Kent State shortstop to put runners on first and second base, but the Green and Blue were unsuccessful in bringing any runs across as they fell 3-1 to Kent State.
Amanda Josie (Estero, Fla./Estero HS) got the start for FGCU against BIG EAST member Providence in its second game of the day and the Green and Blue bats supported Josie from the start. With runners at the corners for Chelsea Zgrabik (Venice, Fla. Venice HS), the 2013 A-Sun Preseason Player of the Year dropped a ball into left field for a single and to bring across the first run of the game for FGCU. With two outs in the inning and the bases loaded, Mariah Fernandez (Cape Coral, Fla./North Fort Myers HS) lined a ball to the wall in left field for a triple that brought across three more runs for the Eagles. It was then time for freshmanHannah Horwath (Lake Mary, Fla./Lake Mary HS) to step up to the plate in her first career start and she delivered, driving a ball up the middle to bring in Fernandez and make it 5-1 in favor of the Eagles at the end of inning number one.
Providence came out swinging in the second inning as the Friars made an attempt to close the four-run gap and with one out and the bases loaded, the visitors brought across one run to make it a 5-2 game. With FGCU trying to escape danger with the bases loaded, Josie cleanly fielded a hard hit grounder and fired home to catcher Emily Lanier (St. Cloud, Fla./Harmony HS) who fired to first for an inning ending double play.
In the bottom of the second with two FGCU runners in scoring position and Zgrabik at the dish, the Eagle designated player roped laser shot to bring across another run. A sacrifice fly from Emily Lanier on the next at bat tallied another run to make it 7-2 FGCU.
With Kelsey Carpenter on first and one away in the bottom of the fourth, Barnes stroked one to right center to bring Carpenter all the way around for the eighth run of the game for the Green and Blue and a Zgrabik base hit that followed brought Barnes across to make it 9-2 FGCU.
Once Josie settled in, she was hard for Providence to hit off of with the assistance of the solid Eagle defense as she retired seven straight over a stretch that spanned the third through fifth innings of the contest.
Mariah Fernandez stepped to the plate in the bottom of the fifth and sent a bomb over the right field fence to make it a 10-2 game in favor of the Green and Blue and end it in five innings by mercy rule.
FGCU will bring the USF Under Armour Invitational and their time in Clearwater to a close on Sunday, March 3 against Maine with first pitch set for 11:30 a.m. For information on theUSF Under Armour Invitational, including game times, participating teams and ticket information, visit the Tournament Central page (http://www.usfseries.com/
In-game Twitter updates (@FGCU_Softball), results and a recap from the day’s action will be available atwww.FGCUATHLETICS.com.