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Saturday March 25, 2006Softball Splits Doubleheader with Arkansas

Gainesville, FL

The Florida Softball team (25-11, 4-4 SEC) split a doubleheader with the Arkansas Lady Backs (16-15, 5-6 SEC) at the Florida Softball Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The Gators took the first game 9-8 in a hard fought, high scoring battle, then lost the second 5-1.

 

Arkansas struck first in the top of the second inning. Kayla Johnson drew a lead off walk. Blaire Perry reached on an infield hit to third and an error by the Gators allowed Johnson to move over to third. Perry stole second to out two runners in scoring position for the Lady Backs. A Carrie Egnor double scored both runners for the 2-0 Arkansas lead.

 

The Gators answered with three runs on two hits and an Arkansas error in the home half of the second. Junior Melissa Zick (Tampa, Fla.) drew a base on balls to lead off the inning. She reached second on a passed ball. With one out in the inning, junior Lacy Howard (League City, Texas) drew a walk. A base hit to center by sophomore designated player Mary Ratliff (Mt. Sterling, Ky.) and a throwing error by the Arkansas centerfielder allowed two Gator runs to cross the plate and Ratliff to go to third. A RBI single to left by freshman Brooke Johnson (Lakeland, Fla.) gave the Gators the 3-2 lead.

 

Arkansas came back to score five runs on six hits in the third to take a 7-3 lead. Freshman Lindsay Littlejohn (Bartow, Fla.) came in to replace junior starter Stacey Stevens (Gainesville, Fla.) after the Lady Backs rattled off five straight hits.

 

The Gators started to mount a comeback in the bottom half of the third. Senior Kristen Butler (Orlando, Fla.) and Zick drew back-to-back walks to start the inning. Howard grabbed a base hit to load the bases. Ratliff hit a two-RBI base hit through the right side to narrow the Lady Back lead to two runs at 7-5.

 

Florida took the lead in the bottom of the fourth. With one out, Butler grabbed a base hit through the left side. Zick reached on a Lady Back error. A second consecutive Arkansas error put junior Lauren Roussell (Cerritos, Calif.) on base and allowed Butler to score from second. With runners on second and third, Howard knocked a base hit to centerfield to score Zick and Roussell and out the Gators up 8-7.

 

Arkansas tied the game in the top of the fifth as Perry scored on a Dana Huckabee double.

 

Florida came back to take the lead again in the bottom of the inning as Butler walked with the bases loaded to score senior Stacie Pestrak (Gainesville, Fla.) for the win.

 

Littlejohn was credited with the win for the Gators to improve her record to 8-4 on the season. Freshman Stacey Nelson (Los Alamitos, Calif.) pitched the final 1.1 innings to earn her second save of the season.

 

The middle of Florida’s lineup proved to be the strongest in game one as the six seven and eight hitters, Howard, Ratliff and Johnson each had two hits and combined for six RBI.

 

Game two just did not go the right way for the Gators. Three errors in the top of the first proved costly as the Lady Backs took an early 3-0 lead. They added two more in the top of the fifth on three hits and a sacrifice fly.

 

The Gators scored their only run in the bottom of the fourth. Zick doubled to left with two outs in the inning. Roussell brought her home with a base hit.

 

Nelson took the 5-1 loss for the Gators in game two to move her record to 7-5. Katy Henry struck out 10 Gators in the win for Arkansas.

 

The two teams will play the deciding game of the series on Sunday at 1 p.m. The game will air live on GatorZone.com via yahoo.com. It is Mirelis Torres Day and the first 250 fans will receive a free T-shirt featuring Torres’ No. 9.

 

 

 

 

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