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Saturday May 6, 2006Softball Records Program's 400th Win in Sweep of South Carolina

Gainesville, FL

The Florida Softball team (40-22, 16-13) recorded the 400th win in the history of the program and secured its fourth consecutive 40-win season and the fifth seed in the Southeastern Conference Tournament with a doubleheader sweep of South Carolina (28-29, 8-20 SEC) Saturday afternoon at the Florida Softball Stadium. The Gators took the first game handily, 5-2, but had to come from behind to win 3-2 in the bottom of the seventh in game two.


Both games were truly team wins, as six different Gators had at least two hits in the game. Junior Lacy Howard (League City, Texas) led the way with a 4-for-6 performance with a double and a RBI. Fellow junior Melissa Zick (Tampa, Fla.)  finished the day 2-for-6 with a double, two runs scored and two RBI. She scored the game-winning run in game one and had the game-winning hit in game two. The Gator defense also played sharp and was error free in the two games.


With the game tied at 2-2 in the bottom of the seventh of game two senior Lindsey Cameron (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) led off with a base hit to right. Junior Lauren Roussell (Cerritos, Calif. Knocked a base hit to left to move Cameron into scoring position for fellow junior Melissa Zick (Tampa, Fla.). Zick hit a walk-off double to right center to score Cameron for the 3-2 Gator win.


South Carolina took the early lead in game two. Jessica Josker led off the game with a deep infield base hit. After two strikeouts from Florida freshman pitcher Stacey Nelson (Los Alamitos, Calif.), Josker scored from second on a base hit by Ashley Smith for a 1-0 Gamecock lead.


Florida tied the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the third. Freshman Kim Waleszonia (Fontana, Calif.) led off with a walk. She advanced all the way to third and Cameron went to second on a throwing error by the South Carolina third baseman. Senior Kristen Butler (Orlando, Fla.) was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Waleszonia scored on a Zick ground out to second.


South Carolina took the lead again in the top of the fourth. With one out, Christie Hamilton knocked a double to right. She scored on a base hit to right by Jacqueline Wetherbee to give South Carolina the lead at 2-1.


The Gators tied the game in the bottom of the sixth. Roussell led off with a double to the left centerfield wall. Freshman Alicia Spack (West Lafayette, Ind.) came in to pinch run for Roussell and advanced to third on a fly out to center by Zick. Spack scored easily on junior Lacy Howard (League City, Texas) base hit down the right field line to tie the game at two runs a piece.


Nelson struck out nine, tying her career high, to earn the complete game win and improve her record to 13-12 on the year. Melanie Henkes, the third of four South Carolina pitchers to make an appearance in game two was responsible for the winning run, to move her record to 5-3 on the season.


The Gators got started early with three runs in the bottom of the first frame in game one. With one out, Cameron was hit by a Christie Hamilton pitch. Butler knocked her 17th home run of the season out of the park in left field to give the Gators a 2-0 lead. With two outs, Zick reached on an error by the South Carolina left fielder and advanced to second on the play. Howard followed with a base hit to the short stop and Zick came around to score on an error by the short stop for the 3-0 Gator lead.


South Carolina answered with two runs in the top half of the second. Christie Hamilton drew a one-out walk. Lisa Longo grabbed an infield base hit. Wetherbee followed with a bunt single to load the bases. The Gator defense threw Hamilton out at home for the second out of the inning, but Josker hit a two-RBI base hit to make the score 3-2 in favor of the Gators.


Florida responded with a run in the bottom half of the inning. Freshman Brooke Johnson
(Lakeland, Fla.) drew a lead off walk. She advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by senior Stacie Pestrak (Gainesville, Fla.). Waleszonia drove a base hit down the left field line and Cameron was hit by a pitch to load the bases. A Butler sacrifice fly brought in Johnson to put Florida up 4-2.


The Gators added an insurance run in the bottom of the third. Zick led off the inning with a walk. Howard reached on a bunt single and advanced to second on an error by the Gamecock second baseman. A senior Lindsay Norfleet (Madison, Fla.) base hit loaded the bases for Johnson. Johnson hit the Gators’ second sacrifice fly of the day to give the Gators a three run lead at 5-2.


Junior Stacey Stevens (Gainesville, Fla.) struck out four in the win to improve her record to 18-6 on the season. Hamilton took the loss for South Carolina to even her record at 15-15.


Because Florida won both games today, and Auburn split with Ole Miss, no matter the outcome of tomorrow’s games, the Gators win the tiebreaker with Auburn and will be the fifth seed in the SEC Tournament which begins Thursday in Athens, Ga. The Gators opponent will be determined the outcome of the LSU vs. Tennessee game tomorrow.


Florida and South Carolina will play the final game of their series tomorrow at 1 p.m.





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