FORT MYERS After having played its last twelve games away from home, the FGCU softball team (15-9) will face Maine and Valparaiso in a mid-week twin billing on Wednesday, March 13 at the FGCU Softball Complex.
FGCU will start its eight-game home stand with a rematch with Maine at 4:45 p.m. The Eagles faced the Black Bears in Clearwater at the USF Under Armour Invitational on March 3, with FGCU taking the contest 8-0 in five innings. The Green and Blue will take on Valparaiso in their second game of the day at 7 p.m.
After a California road trip that lasted six days, included seven games and consisted of nearly 7,000 miles of travel, FGCU will look to keep rolling at home where it has posted a 7-3 record thus far in 2013.
Currently in an 18-game losing streak, Maine (1-18) will take on FGCU in game 19 of a 25-game stay in the state of Florida for the Black Bears that began on March 1. The Eagles will look to improve to 3-0 on the season against teams in the American East Conference with wins over Albany and Maine already under their belts.
Tabbed to finish third in the Horizon League in the 2013 Preseason Poll, Valparaiso (9-8) also received a first place vote in the poll that was compiled by the league's coaches. The Crusaders won their conference last season, while earning a trip to the NCAA Tournament and look to do the same this season despite having graduated six seniors from the 2012 squad.
The Green and Blue's pitching staff looks to solidify itself once again after their ERA jumped from 1.14 to 2.21 during their seven-game stay on the west coast. FGCU opponents scored at least five runs on three occasions in its five games at the Stanford Louisville Slugger Classic, while in the 19 games prior a team scored five or more runs on just one occasion.
After another strong showing over the past week away from the FGCU Softball Complex, junior Chelsea Zgrabik now has nine home runs and 35 RBI on the season which has led to a .863 slugging percentage and has Zgrabik leading the team in all three categories through 24 games this season.