3/2/2014 | Fort Myers, Fla. | Attendance: 351
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Backed by a five-run second inning that included a grand slam from junior Kelsey Carpenter (Oviedo, Fla./Hagerty High School), the FGCU softball team concluded the 2014 FGCU/Four Points by Sheraton Invitational with an 8-0 win over Michigan State of the Big Ten. The Eagles improve to 12-8-1 with the victory, while the Spartans fall to 5-10 on the season.
“I thought Shelby Morgan had a tremendous outing,” explained head coach David Deiros of the team’s strong win. “When she pitches like that, it gives our defense a chance to make plays; that’s when we are at our most efficient. That first RBI from [Makensie] McAvoy was big to get us on top, but it was really nice to get Carpenter’s moonshot so that we could create a little bit of separation. It was great to see that all started with two outs. Jeanie [Verderese] did a great job in her at bat, [Regan] Knapik came up afterwards with a big hit, [Jessica] Barnes protected herself with a 3-2 count to make sure she got on base to make it happen. It was a total team effort all the way around in that inning to put the game out of reach.”
Carpenter led the team with five RBI on the day with two hits in three at bats, while Kirsten Bembnowski (Palm Harbor, Fla./Palm Harbor) knocked in two runs late in the game to seal the win for the green and blue.
Shelby Morgan (High Springs, Fla./Sante Fe High School) earned the win for FGCU to move to 5-2 on the year.
Both teams opened the contest with base runners but after one complete inning the game stayed scoreless. With two outs in the bottom of the second, Jeanie Verderese (Jacksonville, Fla./Creekside High School) knocked a double to left field to give the Eagles a base runner. Regan Knapik (Land O’ Lakes, Fla./Wiregrass Ranch High School) followed with a single through the left side before Jessica Barnes (Winter Haven, Fla./Haines City High School) walked to load the bases.
With three runners on and two outs Makensie McAvoy (Plant City, Fla./Plant City High School) gave the home team a 1-0 lead with a bloop single into left field. With the bases still loaded, Carpenter hit a high-fly ball down the left field line and over the fence for a grand slam. Carpenter knocked in four runs on her fourth bomb of the season and put the Eagles ahead 5-0 after two innings.
Morgan held the Spartans hitless in the third and fourth innings to maintain a five-run lead as the Eagles entered the bottom of the fourth.
Barnes drew a walk before McAvoy reached on an error to put two runners on as Carpenter entered the batter’s box again. Carpenter recorded her second hit of the day with a single to left center to score Barnes from second. The Eagles again loaded the bases with a walk from Ross to make way for another scoring opportunity as Bembnowski approached the plate. Bembnowski singled up the middle to score Ross and Carpenter and increased the Eagle lead to eight runs after four innings.
Morgan forced another 1-2-3 inning for the Eagle defense in the top of the fifth to end the game in favor of the home team.
With just two hits allowed in five complete innings, Morgan earned the win to improve to 5-2 on the season. She struck out five batters, walked none and allowed no runs to score. Morgan currently leads the team with an ERA of 2.45 in 34.1 innings of work.
The Eagles will head to Nashville, Tenn. next weekend to begin Atlantic Sun action. The team will face Lipscomb in a double-header on Saturday, March 8 with a third game scheduled for Sunday, March 9.