Florida put up a record-breaking performance at the 2011 Women’s College World Series Sunday, downing conference rival Alabama, 16-2, in five innings after a five hit, 11-run first inning, sparked by a junior Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) homer, just her fifth of the season and third in the 2011 WCWS. The Gators forced the decisive ‘if necessary’ contest, set for Sunday evening at 7 p.m. (ET). The winner of this evening’s game will advance to the 2011 Championship Series, which starts Monday night. The Gators will be looking for their second appearance in the Championship Series after defeating Alabama in 2009 to play Washington in the best-of-three series. Sunday’s second game will mark the third game ever between the Tide and Gators in the WCWS and the fourth time Florida has faced a league opponent in the WCWS. The Gators have won three of four meetings between the squads so far this season.
The Orange and Blue tied a WCWS record for most runs in a game by a single team (16), and put up the most runs in a single inning (11) in WCWS history, as Alabama gave up the most runs in Crimson Tide history. Seven Florida starters secured hits, led by Moultrie’s 2-for-3 outing. Coyle and Schutte each tallied four RBI in the early afternoon game.
Florida (55-11) poured it on in the first, drawing five walks, including three against senior starter Kelsi Dunne and two against freshman relief pitcher Jackie Traina. Moultrie knocked her bomb off Dunne, while sophomore Brittany Schutte (Fountain Valley, Calif.) capitalized on a bases loaded situation with her second career grand slam against Traina in the circle, marking Florida’s eighth grand slam of the season.
Senior righty Stephanie Brombacher (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) improved to 20-2 on the season with a complete-game effort, giving up two runs, both solo homers, on three hits, while fanning seven Alabama (53-10) batters in the process. Dunne shouldered the loss for the Tide, moving to 29-5 on the season after giving up UF’s initial six runs on just two hits to start off the contest. Florida faced three Alabama hurlers in the five-inning match up as UA’s pitchers combined for just two strikeouts, while surrendering eight hits. Lauren Sewell closed out the final 2.0 for Bama, allowing three of the Gators 16 runs.
Sunday’s game featured six homers between the two SEC opponents, as Florida put up four by hitting the home run cycle with a solo shot by Moultrie, a two-run success by sophomore Ensley Gammel (Bakersfield, Calif.), a three-run round-tripper by freshman Cheyenne Coyle (West Hills, Calif.) and a Schutte grand slam. Brombacher gave up a solo shot to right field from Jaz Lunceford to get Bama on the board in the second, while Whitney Larsen connected for a homer to center in the fourth for the Crimson Tide’s second run of the contest.
After Lunceford’s solo run in the top of the second, Gammel connected for her second career homer to carry Florida through the bottom of the second frame, knocking a two-run round-tripper to left field to give Florida a 13-1 advantage. Gammel’s other career homer came this season in form of a grand slam against Ball State in the USF Under Armour Showcase.
After holding Alabama scoreless in the top of the third, Coyle dropped a three-run bomb over the left-field fence, her 16th of the season, as the Gators tied a Women’s College World Series record for most runs in a game by a single team (16), tying UCLA’s 16 put up against the Gators last season.
Larsen smacked her leadoff round-tripper in the top of the fourth to narrow the UF advantage, 16-2, but Brombacher fanned Amanda Locke and forced two consecutive fly outs to get out of the inning.
Juniors Ashley Snedeker (Bloomington, Minn.) and Lauren Heil (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) earned their first career at-bats in Women’s College World Series play to start off the fourth for Florida, as Snedeker grounded out and Heil struck out. Brombacher closed out the top of the fifth with a three up, three down situation, retiring all three batters by strikeout, to advance the Gators to a decisive second game.
For all updates, recaps and statistics following Florida and Alabama this evening, visit www.GatorZone.com/softball.