March 29, 20131234567RHE
Win: SANDERS (10-6) 6.133354
Loss: Morgan (12-6) 7.0105535
ELMORE (LIP) 413100
Zgrabik (FGCU) 322212
March 29, 20131234567RHE
Win: PARKER (5-8) 7.061135
Loss: Josie (6-2) 7.076322
Williams (FGCU) 312010
Carpenter (FGCU) 402000
March 30, 20131234567RHE
Win: PARKER (6-8) 4.011125
Loss: Owen (6-4) 3.053314
Bembnowski (FGCU) 422402
Knapik (FGCU) 302100
Softball travels to A-Sun leading Florida Gulf Coast
Thursday, March 28, 2013
By Mark McGee
Softball travels to A-Sun leading Florida Gulf Coast

FORT MYERS, Fla. – It is lost in all of the headlines about the basketball team this week, but Florida Gulf Coast’s softball team leads the Atlantic Sun Conference with an unbeaten record.

FGCU has a series of streaks. The Eagles are 5-0 in the A-Sun as they head into their third series. They have won nine games in a row and 11 straight games at home at the FGCU Softball Complex in Fort Myers, Fla.

The Lipscomb Lady Bisons job is to break all of those streaks. The two teams play a three-game series with a doubleheader scheduled for Friday starting at 4 and a single game at 11 a.m. Saturday.

FGCU leads the series all-time by a 6-4 margin. Last season the two teams split a doubleheader. FGCU won game one 1-0 and the Lady Bisons won 14-5 in five innings in the nightcap.

The Lady Bisons are 14-16 overall, 3-6 in the A-Sun. FGCU is 24-9 overall.

“Florida Gulf Coast is on top right now and is picked to win the conference,” LU coach Kristin Ryman said. “They are going to be playing on their home field.

“We have to do a lot of things well to walk away with a sweep or two wins. I think we know what we are facing and what we are up against.”

With the A-Sun season nearing the midway point Ryman is more concerned about her team than she is what FGCU might offer.

“We want to be prepared for our opponent, but at the same time we also don’t want to be so distracted with our opponent that we are not preparing ourselves,” Ryman said. “We want to be sure we are taking care of what we need to do to get better within our own team.

“We want to give them just enough information that we think they need on the other team. But we are focusing on us.”

However, Ryman knows that FGCU is going to be a formidable foe. There are three pitchers in the rotation for the Eagles. Shelby Morgan is 12-5 with a 2.62 earned run average. Amanda Josie is 6-1 with a 2.20 ERA. Jaclyn Owen is 6-3 with a 2.65 ERA.

“Morgan doesn’t give up big hits,” Ryman said. “She keeps the ball down in the zone. She changes speed regularly. She is pinpoint with her location.

“She makes it tough on you to get in a rhythm as a hitter because she is constantly changing. They have used all three pitchers. We are going to have to be a team that can adjust quickly. We have to go up there and take our hacks.”

Freshman Brittany Elmore leads the Lady Bisons with a .337 batting average. She has already set an NCAA era record for the Lady Bisons with 21 stolen bases so far this season. She is ranked No. 11 in the nation with a .72 stolen bases per game average. She needs 16 more stolen bases this season to be in the top 10 in the Atlantic Sun records book.

“We have to be aggressive, but we have to be smart,” Ryman said. “We have to know the umpire’s zone so we can adjust to that. 

"We have to go up there looking for our pitches. We have seen what our team can do offensively. If we do those things the rest will fall into place.”

Four FGCU players are batting higher than .300. Tori Williams leads with a .394 average. Chelsea Zgrabik is batting .358 and she has blasted 10 home runs and nine doubles. Kelsey Carpenter is batting .353 with seven homers. Jessica Barnes is batting .326.

“They have a very good hitting team,” Ryman said. “From top to bottom they are really good athletes. They have a swagger about them. There is a lot of confidence in that group and rightfully so.

“They have a lot of kids who can hit the ball out of the park, but they also have some speedy kids. They keep the pressure on you from an offensive standpoint by putting balls in play. They have a deep, deep team with a lot of weapons.”