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Ali Gardiner led the Gators with a 4-for-7 hitting night against No. 2 Alabama.

Wednesday March 14, 2007Softball Ends 25-Game Tide Win Streak in Split

Gainesville, FL

Ali Gardiner led the Gators with a 4-for-7 hitting night against No. 2 Alabama.

The No. 19 Florida Softball team (20-11, 2-3 SEC) ended another long opponent win streak as they split a doubleheader with No. 2 Alabama (25-1, 4-1 SEC) at the Florida Softball Stadium on Monday night. Alabama won its 25th consecutive game in the first game, 6-2, but Florida gave the Tide its first loss of the season in game two, 8-4.

 

The win over the Tide marks the second consecutive team Florida has beat to end a 20-plus game win streak. The Gators ended a 23-game Tennessee win streak with a 4-0 win in the second game of a doubleheader on Saturday.

 

A huge eight-run fourth for the Gators ended a 25-game Alabama win streak in the second game of the doubleheader. Senior Lacy Howard (League City, Texas) was safe on a fielder’s choice as sophomore Ali Gardiner (Waccabuc, N.Y.) was put out at second. Freshman Jenna Olmo (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) walked and fellow freshman Corrie Brooks (Christmas, Fla.) knocked a base hit through the left side to load the bases. Sophomore Kristina Hilberth (Dunedin, Fla.) was safe at first on a fielder’s choice as Howard came home and avoided the tag at the plate for the Gators’ first run of the game. Sophomore Brooke Johnson (Lakeland, Fla.) walked to bring Olmo home. Brooks scored the tying run on a sophomore Kim Waleszonia (Fontana, Calif.) base hit to left. Chrissy Owens came in to relieve Charlotte Morgan in the pitching circle for Alabama. Senior Lauren Roussell (Cerritos, Calif.) was hit by an Owens pitch, bringing in Brooks. A walk to senior Melissa Zick (Tampa, Fla.) brought home Hilberth for the 5-3 lead. Gardiner’s second hit of the inning brought home two more runs. Zick scored on an Owens wild pitch. Blair Potter replaced Owens in the circle in the second pitching change of the inning. She allowed one more Gator hit before forcing an Olmo ground out to end the innings with the Gators leading 8-3.

 

The Tide took an early 2-0 lead in their half of the second as Morgan hit a two-run home run to center.

 

Alabama went up 3-0 in the fourth as Lauren Parker scored on Ashley Holcombe sacrifice fly.

 

The Tide scored its final run in the top of the seventh as Mandy Burford scored on a Parker double to narrow Florida’s lead to four runs at 8-4.

 

Each of Florida’s nine hits in the game was a base hit.

 

Sophomore Stacey Nelson (Los Alamitos, Calif.) struck out five in the win, improving her record to 12-5 on the season. Morgan took the loss for Alabama, as she was responsible for the first six Gator runs, making her record 5-1.

 

Despite getting the first run of game one, the Gators fell 6-2 in the evening’s early game.

 

Florida pushed the first run across in the top of the first. Waleszonia led off the first with her second triple of the season. She scored on a sacrifice bunt by Roussell for the 1-0 Gator lead.

 

Alabama answered with two runs in the top of the second. Dani Woods drew a lead off walk from senior pitcher Stacey Stevens (Gainesville, Fla.). Charlotte Morgan drove a one out base hit up the middle. Both base runners came home on a double down the left field field line to put the Tide up 2-1.

 

The Tide took a two-run lead in sixth. With two outs, Morgan walked. A Kellie Eubanks double moved Morgan to third. Morgan scored on a passed ball to move her team ahead by two runs.

 

Florida brought the back to within one in a controversial bottom half of the inning. Waleszonia led off the inning with a base hit. On a Roussell bas hit to left, the Tide left fielder bobbled the ball allowing Waleszonia to advance to third. She crossed the plate on a passed ball to put the Gators within reach at 3-2. A base hit by Gardiner and a walk to Howard left the bases loaded for sophomore Savana Kelly (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) with only one out in the inning. Kelly flew out to center and Roussell came home on the would be sacrifice fly that would tie the game. However, Roussell was called out for leaving third early on appeal, leaving the game at 3-2.

 

The balls continued to fall Alabama’s way in the top of the seventh as they added three runs on four hits and a Gator error to give them a 6-2 lead.

 

Johnson knocked a double down the left field line with two outs in the final frame, but would not cross the plate.

 

Stevens received the loss for Florida, moving her record to 8-6 on the year. She struck out three, walked four and gave up 10 hits. Four of the six runs she gave up were earned. Chrissy Owens earned the win for Alabama, improving her record to 13-0. She struck out one, walked two, gave up six hits and only one earned run.

 

Gardiner went 4-for-7 for the Gators on the day to push her season batting average above .300 at .308. Waleszonia score both of the Gator runs in game one and added a third in game two. She finished the day 3-for-8 with a triple, three runs scored and an RBI. Roussell had two RBI on the night, but only had one hit, as she was also walked and hit by a pitch. Howard finished the evening 2-for-5 with a walk and a run scored. Hilberth was 2-for-3 with a run scored and an RBI in game two.

 

The Gators will continue Southeastern Conference play this weekend as they travel to Baton Rouge for a three-game set with the LSU Tigers. Saturday’s doubleheader begins at 2 p.m. ET, as does the single-game finale on Sunday. Fans wearing pink to the games will get in free of charge. All three games will be aired live on GatorZone.com via yahoo.com and live stats will be available from GameTracker at www.GatorZone.com. Sunday’s game will be broadcast live on Cox Sports Television.

 

 

 

 

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