4/18/2014 | Fort Myers, Fla. | Attendance: 170
4/18/2014 | Fort Myers, Fla. | Attendance: 176
FORT MYERS, Fla. – The FGCU softball team avoided anticipated severe weather and earned a double header sweep over the University of North Florida on Friday afternoon at the FGCU Softball Complex. With the wins, the Eagles improve to 27-21-1 on the season with an even 10-10 mark in Atlantic Sun action, while the Ospreys fall to 25-21 and 9-14 in conference play.
The Eagles shutout the Ospreys in both games, earning a 4-0 win in the first game and a 1-0 victory in the second.
Overall, Jessica Barnes (Winter Haven, Fla./Haines City High School) and Makensie McAvoy (Plant City, Fla./Plant City High School) led the Eagle offense in the double header. Barnes had three hits with two RBI and three runs scored, while McAvoy paced the team with four hits in six at bats.
“These were two huge wins for us,” said head coach David Deiros. “Our pitching and defense were stellar today. Both Shelby [Morgan] and Amanda [Josie] did a great job and our defense made some really big plays when they had to. The scores don’t show it, but for the second week in a row, we’re swinging the bats a lot better. We’re squaring up a lot better and we’re doing damage. I’m proud of the way our team played all the way around and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do tomorrow.”
The Eagles struck early in the first game as Barnes singled to lead off and advanced to second when McAvoy reached on an error. With two runners on, Kelsey Carpenter (Oviedo, Fla./Hagerty High School) singled up the middle to score Barnes and give the Eagles a 1-0 lead.
The home team added three runs in the bottom of the second with a series of four hits. The rally started with an infield single from Jeanie Verderese (Jacksonville, Fla./Creekside High School). Regan Knapik (Land O’ Lakes, Fla./Wiregrass Ranch High School) followed with a single up the middle to put runners on first and second with two outs before Barnes rocked a triple to right field to score both runners and increase the Eagle lead to three runs. As the next batter, McAvoy scored Barnes with a single through the left side.
The Eagle defense held the Ospreys scoreless for seven complete innings and stole the 4-0 win with a stellar performance from Shelby Morgan (High Springs, Fla./Sante Fe High School). Morgan allowed just five hits with no runs scored and struck out four batters.
After two scoreless innings, Barnes led off the bottom of the third with a walk and advanced to second on a groundout. With a Chelsea Zgrabik (Venice, Fla./Venice High School) single up the middle, Barnes sprinted home to give the Green and Blue a 1-0 lead again.
The remainder of the second game proved to be a defensive battle as the teams combined for just three hits between the third and seventh innings.
In the seventh, Morgan relieved starting pitcher Amanda Josie (Estero, Fla./ Estero High School) with three outs to play. Morgan gave up a two-out single to center field but sealed the win for FGCU with a successful pickoff attempt at first base. Morgan threw the runner out for the game’s final out and clinched the sweep for the Green and Blue.
Josie earned the win for the Eagles with just three hits allowed through six innings. Josie walked no batters and struck out four to improve to 8-8 on the year. Morgan earned her second save of the season after moving to 11-5 with the win earlier in the day.
The Eagles will conclude the three-game series with a single game on Saturday afternoon. First pitch at the FGCU Softball Complex is set for 2 p.m. FGCU will host its last conference home games against A-Sun foe Mercer (29-17; 11-8 A-Sun) in a three-game series next weekend. The Eagles and Bears will begin the matchup Saturday, April 26, with the first pitch of the series scheduled for 2 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.