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Saturday February 10, 2007Desert Good to Gators as Softball Defeats No. 1 Arizona

Tempe, AZ

A couple big swings of the bat and the Florida Softball team (3-0) was able to take a win from the defending NCAA champion and No. 1 team in the nation for the second year in a row. The Gators defeated No. 1 Arizona (2-1), 3-1, in the first game of day two in the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Ariz.


The game came down to the bottom of the eighth inning. With a 1-1 tie, sophomore Kim Waleszonia (Fontana, Calif.) was placed at second due to international tie-break rules. She advanced to third on a perfectly placed sacrifice bunt by senior Lauren Roussell (Cerritos, Calif.). Waleszonia was out at the plate on a very close call on a fielderís choice by freshman Francesca Enea (Woodland Hills, Calif.). With two outs and a runner on first, senior Melissa Zick (Tampa, Fla.) stepped up to the plate. Zick looked at the first offering from Arizona ace Taryn Mowatt and took the second over the right center fence for the game-winning, two-run home run.


Arizona opened the scoring in the top of the second. Chelsie Mesa drew a leadoff walk from Florida sophomore pitcher Stacey Nelson (Los Alamitos, Calif.). Calista Balko knocked a base hit into right field. A foul ball to deep right from Sarah Akamine advanced Mesa to third. With two outs, Cyndi Duran hit a bloop single to score Mesa for the 1-0 Arizona lead.


Florida sophomore Brooke Johnson (Lakeland, Fla.) tied the game with one swing in the bottom of the third. As Floridaís lead off batter for that half inning, Johnson took the first pitch she saw deep over the centerfield fence for the 1-1 tie.


Florida had a chance to break the game open in the bottom of the sixth. Waleszonia drew a lead off walk from Mowatt. With one out, Enea knocked a base hit through the left side. Zick drew a walk to load the bases, still with only one out in the inning. Senior Lacy Howard (League City, Texas) took Mowatt to a full count before striking out and sophomore Ali Gardiner (Waccabuc, N.Y.) grounded out to first to end the inning.


Nelson (2-0) pitched a great game for the Gators to earn her second win of the season. She retired 15 of the last 16 batters she faced in the game and only allowed one Arizona hit after the third inning. Mowatt (1-1) struck out 11 Gators in the loss.


Florida continues Kajikawa Classic play Saturday afternoon against Wisconsin at Arizona Stateís Farrington Stadium.


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