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Tuesday March 7, 2006Florida Loses Conference Opening Doubleheader to Alabama

Gainesville, FL

The Florida Softball team (17-8, 0-2 SEC) suffered two tough losses in the opening day of Southeastern Conference play to No. 5 Alabama (17-3, 2-0), 5-0 and 3-1. Florida tallied only four hits in the two games, while giving up 14.


“We just did not hit well tonight,” Florida head coach Tim Walton said. “I was not disappointed in our pitching though.”


Florida went down 3-0 in the bottom of the second inning. Stephanie VanBrakle drew a leadoff walk from Florida starter junior Stacey Stevens (Gainesville, Fla.). Mallory Benak came in the game run for VanBrakle at first. She advanced to second on a Staci Ramsey sacrifice. A Dani Woods base hit through the right side scored Benak for the first run of the game. Ashley Holcombe hit a home run right inside the left foul pole to give the Tide a 3-0 lead.


Holcombe added another hit for the Tide with one out in the bottom of the fourth. A Kellie Eubanks sacrifice moved her to second. Mandy Burford knocked a base down the right line to score Holcombe. A Gator error allowed Burford to advance to second. Burford scored on a Brittany Rogers base hit to put Alabama ahead 5-0.


Florida did not put its first runner on base until the top of the fifth, when junior Lauren Roussell (Cerritos, Calif.) ripped a double to the left field wall with two outs in the inning. The Gators also got runners on in the sixth and seventh on walks from VanBrakle, but were not able to push a run across.


Stevens took the loss for Florida to move her record to 7-2. VanBrakle struck out 10 Gators and only allowed one hit in the win to improve her record to 9-1.


Alabama got the first run in game two. In the top of the third, Kelley Montalvo singled to left. She stole second and advanced to third on a Burford ground out. A Brittany Rogers base hit brought Montalvo in for the 1-0 Alabama lead.


Florida answered with a run in the top of the following frame. Junior Melissa Zick (Tampa, Fla.) was hit by a pitch. She advanced to second on a passed ball and third on a wild pitch. She beat the throw home on a senior Lindsay Norfleet (Madison, Fla.) fielder’s choice to tie the game at 1-1.


The team stayed knotted until the bottom of the seventh when Ramsey hit a two-run walk off homer over the scoreboard for the 3-1 Alabama win.


Freshman Stacey Nelson (Los Alamitos, Fla.) took the loss for Florida to move her record to 6-2 on the year. Alabama’s Chrissy Owens also moved to 6-2 on the season with the win.


Roussell had the best outing offensively for the Gators as she contributed two of the Gators hits and was walked twice.


The two teams will wrap up the three-game series Wednesday at 3 p.m. (ET). They game will be broadcast live on via

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