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Friday February 16, 2007Softball Wins Two in Day One of Cox Communications Classic

Gainesville, FL

The No. 19/20 University of Florida Softball team improved to 8-1 on the season with two wins in the first day of the Cox Communications Classic. Florida defeated Fordham 5-3 in their 2007 home opener and followed with a 5-1 victory over UT-Chattanooga.


Sophomore Kim Waleszonia (Fontana, Calif.) scored Floridaís first run at the Florida Softball Field for the 2007 season. In the top of the third in the Fordham game, she reached base on an infield base hit. She advanced to second on a ground out by sophomore Kristina Hilberth (Dunedin, Fla.). Sophomore Ali Gardiner (Waccabuc, N.Y.) knocked the ball to center to score Waleszonia for the 1-0 Gator lead.


Fordham answered with a two-out solo home run from Erin Fisher in the bottom of the fourth to tie the game at one run a piece.


The Gators pushed two runs across in the top of the fifth. With one out, Waleszonia drove a base hit through the left side. She advanced to second on a Hilberth ground out back at the Ramsí pitcher. Senior Melissa Zick (Tampa, Fla.) grabbed a hit up the middle to score Waleszonia, then advanced to second on the throw. A Gardiner double scored Zick to put Florida ahead 3-1.


Florida tacked on two additional runs in the following inning. Senior Lacy Howard (League City, Texas) earned a one-out walk and advanced to second on a sacrifice by freshman Corrie Brooks (Christmas, Fla.). Howard moved to third on a passed ball by Fordham catcher Allison Storc. Pinch hitter Savana Kelly (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) drew a walk to put Florida runners at the corners. Sophomore Brooke Johnson (Lakeland, Fla.) reentered the game to run for Kelly and immediately stole second. A Waleszonia base hit gave Florida a 4-1 lead as Howard crossed the plate. Johnson advanced to third on the hit and was able to scored Floridaís fifth run on an error by the Ramsí first baseman.


The Rams added two runs in the bottom half of the inning on a double by Erin Fisher, who finished the game 3-for-3 with all three of her teamís RBI.


Senior Stacey Stevens (Gainesville, Fla.) pitched the complete game for the Gators to move her record to 3-1 on the year. Only two of the three runs she gave up were earned. She struck out five batters and walked only one. She is now only 24 strikeouts away from setting the school career strikeouts record. Nicole Ayers took the loss for Fordham, her first of the season.


The Gators scored their runs more unconventionally in game two against UT-Chattanooga. Florida lead 4-0 going into the fifth inning, but had only one hit in the game.


Two straight walks to seniors Lauren Roussell (Cerritos, Calif.) and Howard to start the bottom of the second inning got the Gators off to a great start. Both runners moved into scoring position on a Brooks ground out. Roussell scored on a wild pitch from Mocs pitcher Heather Woods. Johnson reached on a fielderís choice and advanced to second on the throw as Howard got caught in a run down between third and home as was eventually tagged out for the second out of the inning. Waleszonia made sure Johnson scored though as she dropped a double into center field for her fourth hit of the night and the 2-0 lead.


Hilberth led off the third reaching base and advancing to second on a two-base error by Mocsí first baseman Alyssa Edwards. Zick drew a walk. Both runners moved into scoring position on a passed ball. Gardiner walked to load the bases. A third consecutive walk, this time to Roussell, scored Hilberth. Chattanooga made a pitching change and Ashley Frizzell came to the circle, replacing Woods. Howard took a 3-1 offering from Frizzell to deep center for the sacrifice fly to score Zick for the 4-0 lead.


The Gators added another run and three more hits in the bottom of the fifth, as Zick scored on a Howard base hit through the left side.


Chattanooga snuck a run across in the top of the seventh on a hit and a Gator error, ending the game at 5-1 in favor of the home team.


Sophomore Stacey Nelson (Los Alamitos, Calif.) earned the win, improving to a perfect 5-0 record in the circle. She struck out eight batters and did not give up an earned run. Woods took the loss for Chattanooga, her first of the year.


Waleszonia paced the Gators with a 4-for-7 performance on the day with two runs scored, two RBI and a double. Zick went 2-for-6, but scored three runs, drove a run in and was walked twice. Howard was 1-for-3 with a run scored and two RBI in the two games. She was walked twice and had a sacrifice.


In the first game of the day Marshall defeated No. 24 North Carolina State 6-5. State rebounded with a 9-1, 5-inning victory over Fordham. Chattanooga earned its first win of the season, 6-5 over Marshall. Florida is the only undefeated team in the tournament after day one, while Fordham is the only winless team. NC State, Chattanooga and Marshall are each tied at 1-1.


Cox Communications Classic play continues on Saturday. Marshall and Fordham open day two at 9 a.m., followed by Fordham and UTC at 11:15 a.m. North Carolina State and Florida face off at 1:30 p.m., the Florida and Marshall will play at 4 p.m. The round robin portion of the tournament wraps up Saturday evening at 6:15 p.m. with Chattanooga and NC State. Sunday will be the championship portion of the tournament. Games will be determined Friday evening based on the record in the first two days of play.


Access to the Florida Softball Stadium and normal softball parking areas will be limited on Sunday. Fans coming to Sundayís 9 a.m. game will need to park at Fi Field located on Hull Road east of the softball stadium. The field will need to be accessed from 23rd. Those attending the 11:15 a.m. game will be able to park at the Lakeside dorms located on Radio Road. Fans will need to access Radio Road from 34th. ††


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