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Softball Sweeps Queens in Dominant Fashion Behind No-Hitter and Shutouts to Begin ASUN Conference Play

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Jessica Piland/FGCU Athletics

Beginning ASUN conference play, FGCU welcomed the Queens University Royals for a three-game series on March 16 and 17. The Eagles dominated the weekend, sweeping every game in the series. The Royals did not score throughout the weekend, being outscored 9-0.

FGCU entered the weekend coming off a 6-5 victory against the University of Alabama at Birmingham Dragons on March 13. This improved their record to 17-10 on the season, as they had won seven of their last nine games. The Eagles aimed to continue this momentum heading into conference play.

Senior pitcher Angelina Bonilla set the tone to start the weekend. In game one, she threw a no-hitter against the Royals, which marked the sixth no-hitter in FGCU history. This theme stayed prevalent for Queens University as they struggled to get hits in each game, only earning four throughout the weekend.

Although the Royals were not able to get hits, they were able to stay level with the Eagles, as neither team was able to score through the first four innings. This changed going into the fifth inning as graduate outfielder Riley Oakes tripled, allowing sophomore outfielder Olivia Black to come in for the run. 

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The Eagles continued this momentum into the bottom of the sixth inning, obtaining two more runs. Sophomore infielder Nikki Gibson doubled to right center field, giving freshman outfielder Camryn Feast the opportunity to come in for the run. Gibson scored a run for herself after junior outfielder Avery Viancos singled down the left field line. FGCU went on to win game one 3-0.

FGCU continued its dominating scoring run into the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader. Over the first two innings, the Eagles scored four runs to the Royals’ zero.

The first run of game two came from Oakes after graduate student and catcher Neely Peterson singled. Oakes got into the position to score after a wild pitch saw two Eagles advance their position on base. Sophomore shortstop Tiffany Meek was the second Eagles who benefited off the wild pitch and brought in the second score of the inning after Gibson hit a flied out in right field

Black scored the Eagles’ third run in the third inning. This run stemmed from a grounded out hit by infielder Sophie Wylie to the pitcher, which opened the door for Black to score. The grounded out allowed Viancos to advance to third base. This put her in scoring position when Oakes hit a grounded out to shortstop. The inning ended with the Eagles up 4-0.

The final Eagles’ run came at the bottom of the fifth inning after Gibson reached an error from the defense in right field. Feast benefited from this error, allowing her to bring in her second run of the weekend.

Queens University got their first hit of the weekend at the top of the sixth inning. To the Royals’ dismay, they were not able to do anything off of the hit as they remained scoreless for the rest of the game. The Eagles swept Saturday’s slate of games, winning game two 5-0.

The Eagles played their final game of the series on Sunday as they looked to repeat what they did the day prior. The third game was the lowest-scoring game out of the three, with there being only one run between both teams. 

FGCU’s one and only run of the game came at the bottom of the second inning by Black. Black got herself into a scoring position after stealing second base. It was her sixth stolen base of the weekend. She was able to punch in the run after freshman infielder Annalyn Duncan hit an out, giving Black the window to score.

Although the Eagles were ahead, it was not smooth sailing. They had to make a pitching change because Royals players were constantly getting on base. Bonilla was launched into Sunday’s game for her sixth save of the season. 

She prevented Queens from scoring throughout the rest of the game, only giving up one hit throughout the whole weekend. She led the Eagles to a 1-0 victory to cap off the historic weekend.

“I’m glad I can always come in for my team and finish off the game in moments where I’m needed,” Bonilla said.

With the Royals not able to score in the final game of the series, it marked a feat that the Eagles had been able to replicate for the last 10 years. The last time FGCU prevented a team from scoring during a three-game series was during the weekend of April 18-19, 2014, against the North Florida Ospreys.

“She [Angelina Bonilla] gives us a chance to win every time that she goes out into the circle,” head coach David Deiros said. “And really, we can say that about our entire pitching staff. You know, we threw 21 innings this weekend and we didn’t give up any runs, and we only gave up six hits. That’s pretty impressive stuff.”

The Eagles begin conference play at the top of the standings with a record of 20-10 and a conference record of 3-0. They are only one of three teams with an undefeated conference record. They look to continue this momentum against the tenth-ranked University of Florida Gators. 

“It’s gonna be a great challenge for us,” Deiros said. “And again, we try to schedule that way so that when we go into conference play, we’re ready for that kind of stress and strain.”

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About the Contributor
Jeffrey Hrunka, Eagle News Assistant Sports Editor
Jeffrey Hrunka is a junior double majoring in communications and journalism with a concentration in public relations. Jeffrey is from Fort Myers where his interest in sports journalism originated after falling in love with the world of motorsports. When he’s not working for Eagle News, he is usually spending time with friends, watching the New York Giants lose, or chilling in the pool.

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