After capturing their first-ever Atlantic Sun Conference softball championship, the FGCU Eagles (37-22, 14-4 A-Sun) learned Sunday their NCAA regional destination is the Gainesville Regional. There they drew fifth-seeded Florida as their first-game opponent on Friday. ??Also in the four-team, double-elimination region are USF (45-11) and UCF (39-17), who collide on Friday as well.
The Eagles and Gators will face each other for the second time this season. The then-No. 2-ranked Gators defeated the Eagles 5-0 on Feb. 12 at the USF tournament in Tampa. USF and UCF are common opponents for the Eagles, who lost to UCF 2-1 on Feb. 25 and lost to USF 4-2 in the season-opener. ?A total of nine teams on FGCU's regular season schedule earned a spot in the tournament field of 64. The Eagles are 4-7 against those nine teams and faced six of them in the first month of the season. The Eagles enter the regional playoffs with 16 wins in their last 18 games.
Top-seeded FGCU earned the A-Sun's automatic bid after taking the conference title with wins over Jacksonville (8-4), Stetson (2-0) and Kennesaw State (8-0). The Eagles head to their first NCAA regional appearance riding a six-game winning streak.
A-Sun tournament MVP Shelby Morgan, a freshman, threw shutouts against Stetson and Kennesaw State in the championship game. The Eagles are represented on the all-tournament team by junior Mariah Fernandez of Cape Coral, sophomore Chelsea Zgrabik and sophomore Jessica Barnes.
Fernandez hit a solo home run against Jacksonville and a clutch three-run double to help defeat Stetson.???
Friday, May 18?
Game 1: Florida vs. FGCU?
Game 2: USF vs. UCF
Saturday, May 19?
Game 3: Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2?
Game 4: Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2?
Game 5: Loser Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4
Sunday, May 20?
Game 6: Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 5?
Game 7: Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 5, if necessary