Following a 2-1 series defeat to UNF, the FGCU softball team was swept by USC Upstate, giving the Eagles their second consecutive series loss to an Atlantic Sun Conference opponent.
Opening a three game series at the FGCU Softball Complex with a double-header on Saturday, April 8, the Eagles lost the first two games of the series 5-4 and 3-0 before falling to the Spartans 5-0 in the series finale on Sunday, April 9.
Kicking off game one of two on Friday, the Hatters put the Eagles in a tough spot with four runs in the second inning, but a three-run home run by Raquel Fournet in the bottom of the fifth brought FGCU within one.
Riding a strong performance by Ansley Gilstrap at the plate, USC Upstate padded its lead with one run in the sixth to hold a 5-3 lead after six innings.
In the seventh inning, Bri Innamorato brought the Eagles within one with a bases loaded sacrifice fly, but FGCU would leave the bases loaded, falling to the Spartans 5-4.
Allowing five runs on nine hits, Riley Randolph picked up her fifth loss of the season despite fanning five batters in the Eagles’ loss.
With Taylor Wade in the circle for game two, USC Upstate was able to produce another multi-run inning, scoring three runs in the third to open up a 3-0 lead.
After leaving runners on the corners prior to the Spartans three-run inning, the Eagles had the tying run at the plate in the bottom of the sixth with Fournet on first, Huff at second and Innamorato at the plate, but Innamorato grounded out to second to end the inning.
Knocking down the Eagles in order in the seventh, Lexi Shubert capped off a complete game, allowing just two hits, no runs and fanning five batters to propel the Spartans to the series victory.
“It’s one of those things where you have to give Upstate credit because when they needed to step up and make plays, they did,” said head coach David Deiros in an FGCU Athletics press release. “We had an opportunity to put a crooked number in game two and we didn’t.”
With the top-two pitchers going at it in the series finale on Sunday, Randolph took on Shubert in what proved to be a pitcher’s duel throughout the contest.
Honoring its seniors prior to the contest, Randolph had FGCU rolling in the first three innings, notching three consecutive three-up three down innings.
While Shubert managed to keep the Eagles off the board, allowing just three hits in the contest, the Spartans ended Randolph’s perfect game in the top of the fourth with a three-run home run by Abbie Millete to take a 3-0 lead.
With the Eagles unable to overcome Shubert’s strong performance in the circle, the Spartans tacked on two more runs to sweep FGCU and claim its 33rd victory of the season.
“It was rolling along as pitcher’s duel until they put three consecutive hits together and put us behind,” said FGCU head coach David Deiros in an FGCU Athletics press release. “We couldn’t do anything to put pressure on them and when we did they made some nice plays to get out of it. Congratulations to them and we’re back to the drawing board.”
FGCU will now welcome FAU to the FGCU Softball Complex for a double-header on Wednesday, April 12, with game one kicking off at 5 p.m. and game two set for 7 p.m.