|PWF Game#8: Hatters Bring Down the Eagles|
Between Jan. 21 and Feb. 1, GoHatters.com is counting down the Top 10 Games in Patricia Wilson Field history...
It was their first season in the NCAA Division I ranks, and they were dominant.
Florida Gulf Coast traveled to DeLand on April 29, 2008, sporting a 48-14 overall record and a 16-4 mark in Atlantic Sun play. The Eagles line-up was stacked from top to bottom and included the NCAA co-leader in home runs, Carmen Paez, and the top two RBI producers in the country, Paez and Cheyenne Jenks. The team averaged over 6.5 runs per game and had not been shut out all year.
Since FGCU was not eligible for postseason play, the Eagles were focused on winning the A-Sun regular season championship. One victory in their season finale against the Hatters would earn them that title outright, and a doubleheader sweep would give them a 50-win season in their first season as a Division I program.
FGCU was on the doorstep of such a major accomplishment that a local television station from Fort Myers made the four hour drive to Patricia Wilson Field to capture highlights of the potential Eagles’ victory and postgame celebration.
So while game two of the doubleheader is officially Game #8 in our Top 10 countdown, it certainly would not have had its significance had it not been for the efforts of Erica Demers and Amanda Lindsey in game one.
Demers quieted the Eagles bats, carrying a no-hitter into the fifth inning and eventually shutting out FGCU for the first time all season. She retired Paez with the bases loaded and two outs in the top of the seventh to nail down her 31st career shutout, establishing a new school record.
Lindsey’s lead-off homer in the bottom of the fifth was all the offense Stetson would need in grabbing a 1-0 victory, which brings us to game two.
FGCU knew it was their last game of the season. While a 50-win season was no longer possible, a victory would still give the Eagles the A-Sun regular season title outright.
Another pitchers’ duel was in the works, this time between Morgan Campen and Lindsey. Neither team could muster a run through the first four innings, but the Eagles' bats came alive in the fifth. FGCU scored three times, all with two outs, and sat just nine outs away from victory.
The Hatters responded with a two-out rally of their own. Back-to-back singles by Amy Joyce and Nicole Forbes set the table for Andrea Migliori, who ripped the first pitch she saw from Campen over the scoreboard in leftcenter field. Just like that the game was tied 3-3.
It was Migliori's 42nd career home run, tying her with Melissa Wiggins for the most in school history, and her 20th of the season, just two off the NCAA lead.
Lindsey kept the Eagles off the board in the sixth and seventh innings, and the Hatters went to work on a game-winning rally. Singles by Forbes, Migliori and Blythe Golden loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the seventh, and Amanda Bailey’s grounder to short proved too hot to handle allowing Forbes to sprint home with the winning run.
In two drama-filled games, the Hatters had swept the first-place Eagles, picked up their 40th win of the season, and improved to 13-8 in A-Sun play. FGCU settled for a share of the conference regular season title with USC Upstate and Lipscomb.
It marked the beginning of a strong rivalry between Stetson and FGCU that still continues today. However, the doubleheader sweep over the Eagles (officially the 4-3 win in game two) ranks as the No. 8 Top Game in Patricia Wilson Field history.
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