The No. 17 Florida Softball team (17-6) split two one-run games in the
first day of the Stacy Winsberg Memorial Tournament
hosted by UCLA at Easton Stadium in Los
Angeles, Calif. The
Gators lost the first game 1-0 to No. 25 Illinois State, but defeated Long Beach State 3-2.
Florida found itself in another tied game going into the seventh
inning against Long Beach
State. Sophomore Kim Waleszonia
led off with a bunt single, her third hit of the day. She moved to second on a
sacrifice bunt by senior Lauren Roussell (Cerritos,
Calif.). A ball from sophomore Ali Gardiner’s (Waccabuc,
N.Y.) bat went right through the legs and under the glove of the 49ers second
baseman, allowing Waleszonia to score and give the
Gators the 3-2 lead.
pitcher Stacey Nelson (Los Alamitos,
Calif.) and the Gator defense
took care of the final three batters of the game to seal the win.
Gators got started on the right foot in game two as Waleszonia
led off with a bunt single. Roussell followed with a
sacrifice bunt, but was safe at first on the Long Beach State
error. Following the first out of the inning, Gardiner reached on catchers
interference call to load the bases. Waleszonia was
thrown out at home on a fielder’s choice play by junior Mary Ratliff (Mt. Sterling, Ky.)
for the second out of the inning, still leaving the bases loaded. Sophomore Savana Kelly (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) knocked her first hit of the season
into left field to score Roussell and give the Gators
the 1-0 lead.
Senior Melissa Zick
reached base on a 49er error to lead off the top of the third. Gardiner singled
back at the Long Beach
pitcher. A Ratliff sacrifice moved both runners into scoring position. Kelly’s
ground out to the short stop scored Zick for the 2-0
Long Beach tied the game at 2-2 in the
bottom half of the third. Janelle Zuniga beat out a hit deep into the pocket
between second and third. The ball was fielded beautifully by Roussell and the throw beat Zuniga to first, but the first
base umpire said first baseman Gardiner pulled her foot, leaving Zuniga safe.
She moved into scoring position on a wild pitch from Florida
senior pitcher Stacey Stevens (Gainesville, Fla.).
Gabby Soto entered the game to pinch run for Zuniga at second. Kourtnee Gervasi walked. Both
runners advanced on a sacrifice bunt. A Whitney Radcliff sacrifice fly to left
scored Soto to narrow Florida’s
lead to just one run. Jessica Beaver’s base hit scored Gervasi
for the tie.
came in the game in relief of Stevens with the game tied, one out and a runner
on second in the bottom of the sixth to earn the win and improve her record to
11-2. Lacy Tyler took the loss for Long Beach State. None of the three runs she gave
up were earned.
game of the day with Illinois State was also tied through most of the game, but the
pitchers’ duel ended in a 1-0 loss for Florida.
were knotted through five innings before Illinois State
scored the only run of the game. With one out, Jackie Williams beat out a slow
rolling infield single. She came around to score on a double to the left field
line by Kara Nelson for the 1-0 Redbird lead.
defense got in a jam in the top of the seventh, down by one run. Nelson issued
her first walk of the game to leadoff batter Kelsey Warning. Andrea Shifflet came in the game to pinch run for her. Jessie Buker knocked a double to deep right center that looked as
if it would score Shifflet, but she was held up at
third to keep the score still at 1-0 in favor of Illinois State.
Nelson went to work and struck out the next batter for the first out of the
inning. She forced a pop up to Zick for out two and a
ground out to Zick for the final out of the inning.
Gators worked on a comeback in the bottom of the seventh. With two outs, Ratliff
drew a walk from pitcher Shannon Nicholson after Nicholson had retired 17
Gators straight. Kelly stepped
up to the plate and forced an error from the Redbird third baseman allowing her
to second and Ratliff to third. Illinois
State brought in Stacy Birk to relieve Nicholson in the circle. Birk earned the save as she forced a ground out from senior
Lacy Howard (League City, Texas)
for the final out of the game
retired the first nine Illinois
State batters, including
six on strikeouts, before the Redbirds got their first hit of the game in the
fourth. She struck out eight batters in only her second loss of the season.
Nicholson earned the win with 6.2 innings of work, giving up only one hit and
also recording eight strikeouts.
only hit of the game, a double in the second inning.
Florida will continue play in the Stacy Winsberg Memorial Tournament on Saturday as they face host
No. 12 UCLA at 3:30 p.m. ET and Loyola-Chicago at 8:30 p.m. ET.