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Francesca Enea went 2-for-3 with a double, a home run, two RBI and two runs.

Saturday February 24, 2007Softball Shows Fight in 7-6 Loss to No. 16 Baylor

Columbus, GA

Francesca Enea went 2-for-3 with a double, a home run, two RBI and two runs.

The No. 19 Florida Softball team (14-5) showed a lot of fortitude as they fought back from a five-run deficit to No. 16 Baylor in their final game of pool play in the NFCA Leadoff Classic. Despite the fight, the Gators were not able to pull ahead and lost, 7-6.


Floridaís offensive fight surfaced in the bottom of the fifth when they found themselves down 7-2. Freshman Francesca Enea (Woodland Hills, Calif.) sparked the Gator offense with a solo home run to lead off the inning, narrowing the Baylor lead to 7-3. That would be all the Gators would get in that inning, but it got them fired up to make something happen in the sixth.


Sophomore pitcher Stacey Nelson (Los Alamitos, Calif.) and the Gator defense retired the Baylor batters in order in the top of the sixth and the Florida offense got hot in the bottom half of the inning. With one out, sophomore Kim Waleszonia (Fontana, Calif.) laid a perfect bunt on the first base line, just out of reach of the Baylor defense. She beat the play to first for her first hit of the day. Senior Lauren Roussell (Cerritos, Calif.) pounded a double to left center to score Waleszonia from first. With two outs, Enea ripped a shot down the left field line for a double to score Roussell, putting Florida down by only two runs. Baylorís Lisa Ferguson came in pitch for Kirsten Shortridge with two outs and a runner on second. A Ali Gardiner (Waccabuc, N.Y.)base hit to right center scored Enea and made the score 7-6 in favor of the Bears.


The Florida defense quickly got two outs in the top of the seventh, then Nicole Wesley knocked a base hit through the left side. A Monceaux base hit and an error in the Gator outfield looked as if it were going to let another run score, but the defense got Wesley caught in a run down and put her out at third for the third out of the inning.


It all came down to the bottom of the seventh for Florida. With two outs, freshman pinch hitter Jenna Olmo (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) got her first hit of the season, a base hit down the left field line to keep the Gators alive. Sophomore Brooke Johnson (Lakeland, Fla.) reentered the game to run for Olmo and stole second to put herself in scoring position. There just wasnít enough time left for the Gators as Baylor made the last out of the inning for the 7-6 Gator loss.


Baylor took an early 3-0 lead in the top of the first. Tiffany and Nicole Wesley led off with back-to-back base hits. Florida senior pitcher Stacey Stevens (Gainesville, Fla.) walked Ashley Monceaux to load the bases. A sacrifice fly to left by Chelsi Lake scored Tiffany Wesley for the 1-0 lead. A two-run base hit through the right side by Shortridge cleared the bases and put the Bears up 3-0.


The Bears made the score 4-0 in the top of the second on a solo home run by Courtney Oberg.


Florida began to fight back in the bottom half of the second. Gardiner led off with a double to left center. Junior Mary Ratliff (Mt. Sterling, Ky.) walked and senior Lacy Howard (League City, Texas) knocked a base hit through the left side to load the bases. A pop up to the first baseman by freshman Corrie Brooks (Christmas, Fla.) held the runners with the first out of the inning. Johnson drew a walk to bring in Gardiner for Floridaís first run of the game. A fielderís choice play back at the pitcher found Waleszonia safe at first, but Ratliff was thrown out at home for the second out of the inning. Roussell grounded out to third to end the inning with three runners still on base.


The Gators added another run to cut Baylorís led to two runs at 4-2 in the bottom of the third. Senior Melissa Zick (Tampa, Fla.) started the Gators with a double down the left field line. Enea was hit by a pitch. Gardiner grounded out to first to move both runners into scoring position. Zick scored on a wild pitch from Baylor pitcher Shortridge for Floridaís second run of the game.


The Bears added to their lead in the fourth. Brette Reagan led off with a base hit back to Stevens. Shortridge reached on a fielderís choice, putting Reagan out at second for the first out of the inning. Kelsey Sage singled to left field and advanced to second on the throw, while Shortridge moved all the way to third. Nelson came in to relieve Stevens in the pitching circle. Shortridge scored on a wild pitch from Nelson to make the score 5-2 in favor of the Bears. Sage moved to third on the play and scored the sixth Baylor run of the game on a sacrifice fly by Courtney Oberg.


Baylor scored its final run in the fifth as Lake hit a base hit to center with Tiffany Wesley on third to make the score 7-2.


Five of Floridaís 10 hits on the game were for extra bases. Enea and Gardiner each had two hits in the game. Enea went 2-for-3 with a double, a home run, two runs scored and two RBI. Gardiner was 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored.


The loss moved Stevens record to 5-4. She struck out three batters in 3.1 innings. She needs only three strikeouts to set the school record for career strikeouts. Shortridge improved to 6-0 for Baylor. Ferguson pitched 1.1 innings to earn her first save of the year.


Florida will play in the bronze bracket on championship Sunday of the Leadoff Classic. The Gators will take on Auburn at 9 a.m. and then will play either Nebraska or Georgia at 1 p.m. There is a high chance of rain in the Columbus area early Sunday morning, so stay tuned to for the latest updates.

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