Six game win streak gives FGCU share of A-Sun lead
Published: Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, April 17, 2012 23:04
After a disappointing 14-5 loss to Lipscomb back on April 6, the FGCU softball team has been able to find some consistency offensively, earning a two game sweep of Belmont on April 14, and a two game sweep of Mercer this past Saturday. FGCU (29-21, 9-3 A-Sun) then swept Jacksonville on Tuesday night to gain a share of the A-Sun lead with Kennesaw State.
The Eagles currently have five players hitting above a .300 batting average. Led by sophomore Jessica Barnes who has a .319 batting average, Barnes has been pleased with how the team has been playing these past four games.
“At the beginning of the season we had games where we would just kill teams. Then we would have other games where we were struggling,” Barnes said. “If this was the beginning of the season, playing Mercer, a team that hits well like they do, we probably would have split, or lost both. Now we’re just doing what we have to do every game, every pitch, every inning.”
Another player who has been playing well for the Eagles lately is sophomore Chelsea Zgrabik who has a team-leading home run total of seven and 37 RBI.
“In the beginning of the season I was having a rough time,” Zgrabik said. “This is my first season actually playing college ball so it took me a little while to get back into it, but I’m kind of getting comfortable in my stance, I’m getting comfortable with the pitches now, and really seeing the ball, focusing on line drives, base hits, and home runs occasionally.”
Barnes, where at this point last year wasn’t even at the top of the stat sheet, hitting only .218.
“With my walks last year, I had maybe like six walks the whole last year,” Barnes said. “Now I’m at like 26 walks on the season now, and coach has always told us, if your walk to strike out ratio is one-to-one you’re doing pretty well. Last year it was nowhere near one-to-one, now I’ve done a lot better with pitches.”
Barnes also added, “I guess the biggest difference would be I try not to let each at bat effect my emotions. I try to be calmer instead of always trying to get a hit. Even if I haven’t done well in the other at bats, I just take one bat at a time.”
Remaining calm and also working together has been a big strength for the Eagles. According to Zgrabik, “We’re feeling each other better, we know how people work. We know who needs to be picked up when. It’s basically if someone strike out we’ve got to pick them right back up, and if we can’t do it at bat, we do it on defense. Our defense is phenomenal right now.”
The Eagles have three double-headers remaining at ETSU, USC Upstate, and UNF. Barnes feels confident that FGCU will be able to get a good spot for the A-Sun Tournament.
“We’re playing awesome, I love it. I can’t ask for more,” Barnes said. “We’ve been consistent the past five games, even though we split with Lipscomb. We’re still hitting the ball pretty well. Our defense after our loss has picked it up a lot.”
As for Zgrabik, “We all want to make it to the A-Sun Tournament this year, especially since we can go post-season after that. We’re really pushing for that, but for us to make it we have to do what we did today (against Mercer) we want to score every inning and just keep going. Just don’t stop, let them get ahead, and we can’t be complacent when they do.”