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@FGCU_Softball Concludes Regular Season with Sweep of NKU
|Win: JOSIE (10-9)||4.0||8||6||6||1||1|
|Loss: ENRIQUE (3-15)||6.1||11||9||9||2||1|
HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. – With another strong performance in the batter’s box, the FGCU Softball team earned an 11-7 win over Northern Kentucky University Sunday afternoon at Grein Softball Field. With the sweep of the series, the Eagles improve to 31-24-1 on the season and finish the regular season with a 14-13 record in Atlantic Sun Conference play. The Norse fall to 5-45 on the year with a 1-25 mark in conference action.
“This was a great way for our seniors to end the regular season,” said head coach David Deiros. “We are playing well and hitting well and we are looking forward to the conference tournament.”
Louie Ross (Cape Coral, Fla./Ida S. Baker High School) led the squad by going 4-for-4 on the day with two RBI and two runs scored. Junior Kelsey Carpenter (Oviedo, Fla./Hagerty High School) led the team with three RBI on the day with two hits in four at bats. Carpenter also crossed the plate three times for the Green and Blue.
Collectively, the Eagles produced 14 hits on the day and were perfect in the field.
Senior Jessica Barnes (Winter Haven, Fla./Haines City High School) led off the game with a single through the left side for the Eagles and quickly advanced to second on her 18th stolen base of the season. Sophomore Makensie McAvoy (Plant City, Fla./Plant City High School) continued a hot weekend from the plate and reached base on a four-pitch walk before both runners advanced into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by senior Chelsea Zgrabik (Venice, Fla./Venice High School).
Carpenter knocked a double to left center to drive in both runs and give the Eagles a 2-0 lead. With two outs, Ross added another double for the Eagles to score Carpenter and increase the lead to 3-0 after half an inning.
The Norse went down in order in the bottom of the first and second but responded to the Eagle lead in the bottom of the third.
NKU led off with two-consecutive singles to right-center field and loaded the bases with a six-pitch walk. A single from NKU’s leadoff hitter drove in one run before a grand slam gave the home team a 5-3 lead. The Norse kept swinging the bats and scored a sixth run with back-to-back singles. FGCU forced a pop up to end the inning but the Eagles faced a 6-3 deficit.
The Green and Blue responded quickly in the fourth with a leadoff single from Kirsten Bembnowski (Palm Harbor, Fla./East Lake High School) and a double from Ross. Brittney Garabedian (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep) followed with a single to left field that scored Bembnowski and brought the score to 6-4. Regan Knapik (Land O’Lakes, Fla./Wiregrass High School) cut the margin to one run with an RBI sacrifice bunt that scored Ross before the inning ended.
NKU had a chance to increase its lead in the bottom of the third with two runners in scoring position. Starting pitcher Amanda Josie (Estero, Fla./Estero High School) recorded the final out of the inning with a three-pitch strikeout to stop the Norse attack.
Zgrabik drew a walk to start the fifth and advanced to second on a passed ball. As the next batter, Carpenter tripled to right field to drive in a run and tie the game at six runs each. Bembnowski used a sacrifice fly to deep left field to score Carpenter and reclaim the lead for FGCU.
After consecutive singles from Ross and Garabedian and a walk from Jeanie Verderese (Jacksonville, Fla./Creekside High School) loaded the bases with two outs, Hannah Horwath (Lake Mary, Fla./Lake Mary High School) approached the plate as a pinch hitter. Horwath collected a four-pitch walk to drive in a run and keep the bases loaded for Barnes.
Barnes knocked a single up the middle on the second pitch of her at bat to score Garabedian and Verderese and increase the Eagle lead to four runs after five innings.
NKU was unable to respond in the fifth and brought the Eagles back to the plate with momentum on their side in the sixth.
Zgrabik was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. Carpenter reached base on a fielder’s choice that threw out Zgrabik at second but stole second quickly to put a runner in scoring position. Bembnowski laid down a bunt that advanced Carpenter and put runners on the corners with one out before Ross singled to the shortstop and scored Carpenter to give FGCU an 11-6 lead.
NKU produced back-to-back singles in the bottom of the sixth and loaded the bases with a third single. A wild pitch allowed a run to score to bring the tally to 11-7 but the Eagles stopped the Norse from further cutting the deficit.
Relief pitcher Taylor Wade (Pace, Fla./Pace High School) forced the Norse down in order in the seventh, including a third-out strikeout, to seal the victory for the Eagles.
Josie earned the win for FGCU with six earned runs allowed on eight hits, while Wade picked up her second save of the season with one earned run on four hits through three innings. Josie moves to 10-9 with the four-inning performance.
FGCU will prepare for the 2014 Atlantic Sun Tournament as they will travel to Nashville, Tenn. this week. The Eagles are ranked sixth in the conference entering tournament play and will face Stetson on Wednesday, May 7 at 3 p.m. CST.