2/21/2014 | Fort Myers, Fla. | Attendance: 50
2/21/2014 | Fort Myers, Fla. | Attendance: 319
FORT MYERS, Fla. – After dropping a close game to Villanova, the FGCU softball team defeated the University of North Dakota in five innings to split a pair of games on the opening day of the FGCU/Four Points by Sheraton Round Robin. The Eagles fell to Villanova 5-4 and defeated North Dakota 12-0 to move to 7-5-1 on the season.
Jessica Barnes (Winter Haven, Fla./Haines City High School) led the Eagles with four hits in five at bats through two games on Friday. The centerfielder produced two doubles and two triples for a slugging percentage of 2.000. Barnes also knocked in two runs and crossed the plate five times.
Mackenzie McAvoy (Plant City, Fla./Plant City High School) and Kelsey Carpenter (Oviedo, Fla./Hagerty High School) added four hits each for the Green and Blue. Carpenter drove in three runs, while McAvoy produced two RBI. Louie Ross (Cape Coral, Fla./Ida S. Baker High School) led the team in runs batted in to open the tournament with four knocked in on just three hits. Ross added two doubles and her third homerun of the season.
The Eagles began tournament play against Big East foe Villanova. Barnes led off the first inning with a four-pitch walk and stole second base on her first opportunity. Barnes moved to third on a groundout to put a runner in scoring position with just one out. A Carpenter single to left field scored Barnes to give the Eagles the initial lead.
Villanova opened the top of the second with consecutive singles to put runners on first and second with no outs. A sacrifice bunt advanced the runners into scoring position before a single through the left side scored the runner from third to knot the game at one run each. Villanova added a second run on a sacrifice fly to right field and finished the second inning with a 2-1 advantage.
Both teams were held scoreless in the third and fourth innings. The Wildcats singled early in the fifth inning and put runners on the corners after an FGCU infield error. A wild pitch scored an unearned run for Villanova and left the team with a runner on second and two outs. The next batter singled up the middle to score the runner and put the visiting team ahead 4-1.
The Eagles were quick to respond as Barnes doubled through the left side to begin the bottom of the fifth. As the next batter, McAvoy walked to put runners on first and second for Carpenter. Carpenter singled up the middle to drive home Barnes and advanced to second on a throw home that forced McAvoy out at the plate. After a Villanova pitching change, Chelsea Zgrabik (Venice, Fla./Venice High School) drew a walk to keep two runners on base for FGCU. Carpenter and Zgrabik both advanced on a wild pitch to put runners in scoring position with just one out. A double down the right-field line by Ross drove in both runs to tie the game at four through five innings.
Villanova reclaimed the lead in the top of the sixth with a homerun over the centerfield fence. The Eagles produced a base runner in the bottom of the seventh but saw as the final two batters struck out to end the game with Villanova on top, 5-4.
Amanda Josie (Estero, Fla./Estero High School) was credited with the loss for FGCU after allowing three earned runs on 10 hits. Josie faced 26 batters through six innings and fell to 2-2 on the season.
The Eagles saw an offensive fury in the second game of the night. Barnes led off the first inning against North Dakota with a single up the middle. McAvoy produced a single to drive Barnes in before Carpenter drove in another run with a double through the left side. Zgrabik followed suit with the Eagles’ fourth-consecutive hit and scored Carpenter from second base. Still with no outs and one runner on, Ross homered to left field to score two more runs and give the home team a 5-0 lead. UND walked the next batter before forcing three outs to end the inning but not before the Eagles had batted around to begin the game.
FGCU tacked on three more runs in the bottom of the second. Barned walked and stole second to lead off the inning. After another Carpenter single, the Eagles held runners on first and second with one out. Zgrabik singled through the left side to load the bases before a passed ball enabled all the runners to advance, including Barnes who scored an unearned run. Ross, Brittney Garabedian (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep High School) and Tori Van Camp (Zellwood, Fla./Apopka High School) each drew a walk before the inning was over to score two more runs for the Eagles. FGCU produced three runs on two hits in the second to hold an 8-0 lead after two complete innings.
The Eagles were held scoreless in the third inning but saw the bats get hot again in the fourth. Kirsten Bembnowski (Palm Harbor, Fla./East Lake High School) singled through the left side and stole second to start the inning. Jessica Butler (Plant City, Fla./Plant City High School) pinch ran for Bembnowski and took third base on a wild pitch. Amanda Byers (North Miami Beach, Fla./Michael Krop High School) walked while pinch hitting for Van Camp and moved to second with a left-field single from Hannah Horwath (Lake Mary, Fla./Lake Mary High School). Horwath’s single drove in Butler from third base to increase the Eagle lead to nine runs.
With one out and two runners on, Barnes hit her second triple of the day to drive in two runs. McAvoy followed with a single up the middle to score Barnes and move the score to 12-0 after four innings.
North Dakota lined out, popped up and grounded out in the bottom of the fifth to end the game with the Eagles leading 12-0.
Shelby Morgan (High Springs, Fla./Sante Fe High School) earned the win for FGCU with just three hits allowed through five complete innings of work. Wade allowed no runs to score and struck out three of the 21 batters she faced.
The Eagles will continue the FGCU/Four Points by Sheraton Round Robin on Saturday afternoon. The team is scheduled to take on Arkansas at 3:45 p.m. before facing Ivy League opponent Harvard in the 8:15 game. The Razorbacks defeated Eastern Michigan 13-0 on Friday morning before defeating North Dakota 20-1 to move to 2-0 in Fort Myers, while Harvard defeated Eastern Michigan 3-0 and fell to Villanova 2-1 to split its first day of competition for the 2014 season.