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Sunday May 7, 2006Softball Completes Sweep of South Carolina With a 6-1 Victory

Gainesville, FL

The Florida Softball team (41-22, 17-13 SEC) used nine hits to score six runs in a 6-1 defeat of the South Carolina Gamecocks (28-30, 8-21 SEC) in the final regular-season Southeastern Conference game of the season. The Gators pulled together for a textbook team win. Nine different players reached base, five scored runs and four had RBI in the win.

 

Florida was slow to get the bats going, relying on the bottom of the lineup to start a rally in the bottom of the third inning. Number eight hitter, freshman Brooke Johnson (Lakeland, Fla.), led off the inning with a base hit to center. She stole second to move into scoring position. Senior Stacie Pestrak (Gainesville, Fla.) followed with a second base hit to center. Freshman Kim Waleszonia (Fontana, Calif.) drove a double through the right side to score Johnson. Senior Lindsey Cameron (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) drove in Pestrak and Waleszonia with a base hit through the left side for the 3-0 Gator lead.

 

South Carolina scored its run in the top of the sixth. Christie Hamilton drew a two-out walk from Florida junior pitcher Stacey Stevens (Gainesville, Fla.). Hamilton advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored on an Ashley Smith double to center field to narrow Floridaís led to 3-1.

 

The Gators answered with three runs in the bottom half of the inning. Junior Lacy Howard (League City, Texas) led off with a base hit to left. She stole second and advanced on a bunt single by fellow junior Shelley Stevens (Gainesville, Fla.). Johnson was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Sophomore pinch hitter Mary Ratliff (Mt. Sterling, Ky.) drew a walk to bring in Howard and keep the bases loaded for Waleszonia. Pestrak reentered the game to run for Ratliff at first and Kate Pouliot replaced Jessica Barnes in the circle for South Carolina. Waleszonia smacked the first pitch Pouliot offered for an infield base hit to bring in Stevens and put the Gators up 5-1. With two outs, and the bases still loaded, junior Lauren Roussell (Cerritos, Calif.) drew her team leading 34th walk of the season to bring in Pestrak and give Florida the five-run lead at 6-1.

 

Stacey Stevens (19-6) pitched the complete game, giving up only three hits, to earn her 19th win of the season. Hamilton was the starting pitcher for the Gamecocks and gave up the three runs in the third to take the loss and move her record to 15-16.

 

Pestrak led the way for the Gators with a 2-for-2 performance with two runs scored. Waleszonia finished the day 2-for-4 with a run, a double and two RBI. Cameron also had two RBI for the Gators in the game. Florida stole four bases in the game, one each from Cameron, Howard, Pestrak and Johnson.

 

The Gators will play their final regular season home game on Tuesday at 5 p.m. against the Stetson Hatters. The six seniors will be honored before the game. The first 500 fans will receive a free give away featuring Kristen Butler, Lindsey Cameron, Lindsay Norfleet, Stacie Pestrak, Laura Templeton and Mirelis Torres.

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