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Sunday February 18, 2007Softball Defeats Marshall, but Falls to NC State in Cox Championship

Gainesville, FL

The No. 19/20 Florida Softball team (10-3) won its first game on championship ship day of the Cox Communications Classic, 4-0 over Marshall, but fell 4-3 in the championship game to North Carolina State.


The Gators put four runs in their half of the second against Marshall. Sophomore Ali Gardiner (Waccabuc, N.Y.) led off with a walk and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by senior Lauren Roussell (Cerritos, Calif.). Freshman Corrie Brooks’ (Christmas, Fla.) dropped a double in left field to score Gardiner for Florida’s first run of the game. Sophomore Brooke Johnson (Lakeland, Fla.) an infield single. Senior Lacy Howard (League City, Texas) hit the Gators’ second double of the inning to score Brooks. Sophomore Kim Waleszonia (Fontana, Calif.) was hit by an Amanda Luers pitch to load the bases. Freshman Jenna Olmo (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) hit a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Johnson. Howard scored Florida’s fourth run on a throwing error by the Herd catcher as she was trying to catch Enea stealing second.


That inning would be all the Gators needed as Marshall left 11 batters stranded in the game and was not able to push a run across.


Sophomore Stacey Nelson (Los Alamitos, Calif.) earned her seventh win of the season. She struck out eight in her second shutout of the season.


The Gators were leading the championship game 3-1 heading into the bottom of the sixth inning, but the Wolfpack was not going to give up. Kristine Bechtholdt drew a walk. Megan Dalthorp reached on a fielder’s choice, but Bechtholdt was safe at second on the Gator throwing error. Shana Smith drew a walk from Florida senior pitcher Stacey Stevens (Gainesville, Fla.) to load the bases. Miranda Ervin grabbed a pinch hit single to score pinch runner Krystal Hawkins and narrow Florida’s lead to only one run. Nelson came into replace Stevens in the pitching circle for Florida. Heather Gelbard reached on a fielder’s choice and the Gators made the second out of the inning, but Dalthorp crossed the plate to tie the game. Claudia Cooper walked to again load the bases. The second Gator error of the inning proved to be the end for Florida as Smith scored on the error before Nelson sat the final batter of the inning down looking.


The Gators took an early 3-0 lead in the top of the second as everyone in the lineup saw time at the plate. Florida scored all three of its runs with two outs. Brooks drew a walk with one out in the inning. Following a Johnson strikeout, Howard ripped a base hit through the left side. Waleszonia was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Sophomore Kristina Hilberth (Dunedin, Fla.) reached on an error by the Wolfpack second baseman, allowing Brooks to score. Enea struck out swinging, but reach first on a passed ball while Howard scored the Gators’ second run. Senior Melissa Zick (Tampa, Fla.) earned a RBI as she drew a walk on a 3-2 count with the bases loaded to score Waleszonia for the 3-0 Gator lead.


North Carolina State narrowed the Gator lead to two runs in the fourth as Jennifer Patterson hit a lead off home run.


Stevens took the loss for Florida, her second of the season. Abbie Sims earned the win for NC State after relieving Shaina Ervin with the Gators leading 3-0 in the top of the fourth.


Florida will play at home Wednesday night against North Florida. The doubleheader begins at 4 p.m.

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