Softball2009 NCAA Women's College World Series
Powered by three home runs and 12 RBI, No. 1/1 University of Florida shutout Florida A&M, 12-0, in five innings on Friday night in the nightcap of day one of the Gainesville Regional.
The Gators (56-3) tallied 10 hits, six for extra bases, in the win. Every starting player reached base and eight starters recorded at least one hit, both by the second inning. The three Gator bombs brought the season total to 79, tying the Southeastern Conference record for single-season home runs, set by the 2007 Alabama Crimson Tide. Florida also broke its program record for single-season RBI, as it has collected 367 this season. The 2008 team held the record with 361.
Sophomore Stephanie Brombacher (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) picked up her 21st win of the season, striking out seven while allowing one walk and two hits in her five innings of work. She moves to 41-0 in her career. Amanda Reyes (22-19) shouldered the loss for the Rattlers (30-31).
Sophomore Aja Paculba (Wildomar, Calif.) turned in a perfect 2-for-2 performance with two runs scores, three RBI, a walk and a home run. Senior Kristina Hilberth (Dunedin, Fla.) went 2-for-3 while junior Corrie Brooks (Christmas, Fla.) tallied a team-high four RBI.
It didn’t take long for the Gators to score as Paculba led off the bottom of the first with a homer to left field. Hilberth kept the momentum going with a single up the middle and senior Ali Gardiner (Waccabuc, N.Y.) walked to put runners on first and second. Sophomore Kelsey Bruder (Corona, Calif.) nailed a double to center to score Hilberth and move Gardiner to third. Brooks recorded her fourth sacrifice fly of the season, scoring Gardiner. Sophomore Megan Bush (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) follwed with a two-out home run to right center, giving Florida a 5-0 lead.
After Brombacher struck out two of the three batters she faced, UF added seven more to its lead in the second. Paculba walked and Hilberth chopped one to short and beat the throw to give the Gators two base runners with no outs. Gardiner drew her second walk of the day to load the bases and Enea knocked two in with a single up the middle. Brooks tallied her 10th long ball of the season with a three-run bomb to dead center.
Bush kept the inning alive by drawing a two-out walk and senior Kim Waleszonia (Fontana, Calif.) doubled to left center to move both runners into scoring position. Paculba recorded her second hit, this one up the middle, to clear the bases and give the Gators a 12-run lead after two full innings.
Melissa Oliphant record FAMU’s first hit of the game in the top of the fourth with a single to left. Nicole Terryn added another single to right to put two Rattlers on, but Bush caught a line drive and threw to second to double up Oliphant and end the inning. Brombacher retired the final five batters to end the game.
The Gators will take on Texas A&M, who beat Lehigh, 1-0, in game one, at 1 p.m. on Saturday. Florida A&M will square off with Lehigh at 3:30 p.m. The loser of the first game and the winner of the second will play at 6 p.m. All the Regional action can be followed with free web streaming and live stats. Please visit www.gatorzone.com and click on the 2009 NCAA Softball Tournament link.
Second Baseman Aja Paculba
“We take it game by game. One game rolls into another and we take that momentum into the next game.”
“My [lead off] home run helped to set the tone for how our offense was going to perform tonight. It told the rest of the team what the pitching was going to be like for the night.”
Head Coach Tim Walton
“It feels good to get things going in the right direction going into this weekend. I’m really excited with the way that we opened up today. We did a really good job capitalizing on the pitches that we were able to hit. I was very impressed with the quality of the at bats from our team today.”
Junior Pitcher Amanda Reyes
“I knew coming in that they had a lot of power and they lived up to our expectations. They were what I expected and I did what I could.”
Junior Shortstop Melissa Oliphant
“It’s all about confidence. We’re playing some great teams in this regional tournament and it’s about staying within yourself and staying as a unit.”
“After our first at bat, we did make the adjustments. We were able to make contact and stay relaxed. Stephanie [Brombacher] is a great pitcher and it’s all about adjustments.”
Coach Veronica Wiggins
“We were playing a great team. Our players got excited and sometimes our emotions allow us to become overwhelmed. Once they realized that they were other athletes making plays, they settled down. But in the beginning the adrenaline was going and everybody was so anxious. We got the best out of the way, now we feel like we can compete.”