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Sunday April 9, 2006Softball Splits Doubleheader to Win Series Over UT, 2-1

Knoxville, TN

The No. 24 Florida Softball team (33-15, 12-6 SEC) split a Sunday doubleheader with No. 5 Tennessee (36-6, 9-6 SEC) at Tyson Park in Knoxville, Tenn. The Gators won game one 2-0 on two solo home runs and lost the second game 8-0. With the game one win, the Gators secured the series win two games to one. The Gators have now won five of its six Southeastern Conference series this season.

 

Florida scored the first run of the game as junior Lauren Roussell (Cerritos, Calif.) took the first pitch Tennessee pitcher Monica Abbott offered her in the top of the fifth over the left center field fence for her second home run of the series. With two outs, freshman Brooke Johnson (Lakeland, Fla.) hit the Gators second solo homer of the inning, placing the ball in the same place as Roussellís home run to give Florida a 2-0 lead.

 

Tennessee put runners on base on in every inning except the seventh when Florida junior pitcher Stacey Stevens (Gainesville, Fla.) and the Gator defense sat the Lady Vols down in order. The Lady Vols left eight runners on base, including five in scoring position.

 

Stevens gave up five hits and struck out four to win her 15th game of the season, making her record 15-3 on the year. Tennessee pitcher Monica Abbott allowed four Gator hits and struck out 10 in the loss, moving her record to 24-5 this season.

 

Tennessee struck scored first for the first time in the series in game two. Shannon Doepking led off the bottom of the third. Lillian Hammond entered the game to pinch run for her. Jennifer Griffin was safe at first on a Gator error on a sacrifice bunt attempt. Katherine Card grabbed a base hit to left to load the bases for the top of the Lady Vols order. Lindsay Schutzler scored Hammond from third on a base hit up the middle, leaving the bases loaded. Sarah Fekete was safe on a fielderís choice as the Gator defense threw Jennifer Griffin out at home for the first out of the inning. A two run base hit to centerfield by Kristi Durant gave the Lady Vols a 3-0 lead.

 

Card got the Lady Vols going again in the bottom of the fifth inning as she led off with a double down the left field line. A triple to centerfield by Schutzler put Tennessee up 4-0. Fekete walked to put runners on the corners. Durant knocked a base hit up the middle to score Schutzler and move Fekete to third. Fekete scored on a wild pitch to give the Lady Vols the 6-0 lift. Tonya Callahan drew a walk to put runners on second and third with still no outs in the inning. The Gators got the first out of the inning as Johnson beat Durant to third on a fielderís choice play, still leaving runners on first and second. Floridaís defense took care of the next two batters to end the inning.

 

Tennessee added two runs in the bottom of the sixth. Pinch hitter India Chiles reached base on the third Gator error of the game to lead off the inning. Card got her third hit of the day with a base hit to center, moving Chiles to third. Florida freshman pitcher Stacey Nelson (Los Alamitos, Calif.) intentionally walked Schutzler to load the bases. Fekete walked, sending Chiles home for the 7-0 Tennessee lead. A sacrifice fly to center by Callahan ended the game with a 8-0 win for the Lady Vols.

 

Nelsonís record moved to 9-8 on the year with the loss. Tennessee pitcher Megan Rhodes earned the win to improve her record to 12-1.

 

The Gators scattered four hits in the loss with two in each the fourth and the sixth innings. Seniors Lindsey Cameron (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) and Kristen Butler (Orlando, Fla.) hit back-to-back two-out base hits in the fourth. Senior Stacie Pestrak (Gainesville, Fla.) and junior Melissa Zick (Tampa, Fla.) added hits in the sixth.

 

Florida will return home next weekend for the first time in 16 days as they face No. 10/11 Georgia at the Florida Softball Stadium on Friday and Saturday. Friday is a single game at 5 p.m. and will air live on WRUF AM850 and wruf.com. The Saturday doubleheader begins at 1 p.m. The first game will be broadcast on Sunday as the SEC-TV game of the week. Both of Saturdayís games air live on GatorZone.com via yahoo.com.

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