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Friday May 19, 2006Softball Loses First NCAA Regional Game, Plays at 2:30 Saturday

Gainesville, FL

The Florida Softball team (42-24) lost its first NCAA Regional game to Florida Atlantic (34-23), 2-0 in Gainesville on Friday evening. The Gators played near perfect defensively until the top of the seventh when the Owls scored their runs, but could not get going at the plate.


Florida Atlantic scored both its runs in the top of the seventh. With one out, Florida junior pitcher Stacey Stevens (Gainesville, Fla.) handed out her first walk of the game to Danielle Arriaga. Lauren Crandall pinch ran for Arriaga at first. Mandie Fishback knocked a base hit to left, moving Crandall into scoring position. Kala Guy drove a second consecutive base hit to right field to score Crandall from second for the 1-0 Florida Atlantic lead. Marlene Lopez entered the game to run for Fishback who advanced to third on Guy’s hit. With runners on first and third, Guy attempted to steal second. Florida junior shortstop Lauren Roussell (Cerritos, Calif.) cut the throw down from senior catcher Kristen Butler (Orlando, Fla.) in front of second and immediately threw the ball back to Butler to catch Lopez in a run down trying to steal home. A Gator error in the run down allowed Lopez to safely reach the plate for the 2-0 lead.


Florida put runners on base in five of the seven innings, but was not able to push a run across. Senior Stacie Pestrak (Gainesville, Fla.) reached on a bunt single to lead off the Gator half of the first, but was called for leaving early on the next at bat. In the third, freshman Brooke Johnson (Lakeland, Fla.) grabbed the Gators second hit of the game with a base hit to second.


The fourth and sixth innings were Florida’s best chances to score. Freshman Kim Waleszonia (Fontana, Calif.) led off the fourth with a bunt single and advanced to second on a wild pitch from Florida Atlantic pitcher Jen Musillo. Waleszonia advanced to third on a fly out by Butler, but the next two Gator batters struck out to end the inning.


In the sixth, Waleszonia reached on an error with two outs in the inning. Butler drew the only walk of the game from Musillo. Senior Lindsey Cameron (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) reached on a fielder’s choice, but Waleszonia was thrown out at third to end the inning.


Musillo struck out 11 Gator batters in the win, including catching five looking. Musillo improves to 12-7 on the year. Stevens gave up only four hits in the loss. She struck out four and walked only one. She and the Gator defense did not allow a runner beyond second until the top of the seventh.


Johnson had five assists for the Gators in the game, which allowed her to set Florida’s single season assists record with 152. She broke the record set by Jackie Marchetta in 2002. Pestrak had a stellar defensive game, tying her career high with five assists. She also added two putouts.


Florida now will face North Carolina, who lost to South Florida 2-1 in the early game Friday. The two teams will face off in Saturday’s second game at 2:30 p.m. The game will air live on WGGG (1230 AM) and WMOP (900 AM) in the Gainesville area and world wide. Live video will also be available on GatorVision Online. Should the Gators win, they will play the losing team from the Florida Atlantic vs. South Florida game at 5 p.m.



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