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Saturday March 31, 2007Softball Drops Doubleheader at Ole Miss

Oxford, MS

The No. 19 Florida Softball team (27-16, 5-8 SEC) dropped both games of a doubleheader to Ole Miss (16-21, 7-6 SEC) in Oxford on Saturday, losing game one 2-1 in 10 innings and the second 4-2. The Gators out hit the Rebels in both games, but could not get timely hits, as they left 19 runners on base on the day.

 

Game one came down to the bottom of the 10th inning in game one. Ashley Dowdy started Ole Miss’ half of the inning at second due to International Tie-Breaker rules. She moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Amber Tramp. Elizabeth Holbert entered the game as a pinch hitter and dropped a blooper in the infield that the Gators could not make a play on for the 2-1 win.

 

Florida scored the first run of the game in the top of the sixth. Senior Melissa Zick (Tampa, Fla.) led off the inning with a base hit to left center. Zick moved to second on the second out of the inning as sophomore Corrie Brooks (Christmas, Fla.) grounded out to short. Zick stole second to put her 60 feet away from the score with sophomore Brooke Johnson (Lakeland, Fla.) up to bat. Johnson reached on a fielding error by the Rebel second baseman, allowing Zick to score and give the Gators the 1-0 lead.

 

Ole Miss tied the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the seventh. Lauren Grill led off with a base hit up the middle. She advanced to second on a Mary Jane Callahan sacrifice bunt. A Dowdy base hit to right scored Grill to send the game into extra innings.

 

Florida had a chance to break a scoreless tie in the top of the fourth, but ended up leaving runners stranded on all bases. Zick singled to the short stop to start the inning. Junior Mary Ratliff (Mt. Sterling, Ky.) was safe at first on a fielder’s choice that found Zick out at second. Both Ratliff and Brooks were safe on a play that was ruled as a fielder’s choice. Sophomore Savana Kelly (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) walked to load the bases. Ratliff was thrown out at home for the second out of the inning, but sophomore Kristina Hilberth (Dunedin, Fla.) was safe at first on the fielder’s choice, leaving the bases still loaded for sophomore Kim Waleszonia (Fontana, Calif.) Waleszonia was called out on strikes to end the inning.

 

The Gators also had a chance to put the game away in the top of the 10th. Waleszonia started the inning at second. Senior Lauren Roussell (Cerritos, Calif.) laid down a beautiful sacrifice bunt to advance Waleszonia to third. Sophomore Ali Gardiner (Waccabuc, N.Y.) reached on a fielder’s choice to second, as for the second time in the game, the Gators had the go ahead run thrown out at the plate. Senior Lacy Howard (League City, Texas) gave the Gators some hope as she knocked her third hit of the game into left field, but Zick struck out swinging in the following at bat for what would be the final out of the game for the Gator offense.

 

Sophomore Stacey Nelson pitched all 9.1 innings in the loss. She struck out eight, walked two and gave up five hits. Only one of the two runs she gave up were earned. Tara Willitt came in the game in relief of starter Callahan to start the sixth inning to earn the win. She allowed only two Gator hits and struck out five, while giving up one run. Florida recorded five hits and two walks on Callahan before she left the game.

 

Howard and Zick each had multiple hit games for the Gators. Howard went 3-for-5 and Zick was 2-for-5 with the only Gator run of the game. Roussell extended her career-long hit streak to seven games with a base hit in the third. Gardiner recorded a career-high 12 put outs.

 

Ole Miss took its first lead of game two in the third frame. With one out, Emily Sarver singled up the middle. She advanced to second on a Lisa Conchos sacrifice bunt. Sarver scored on Grill’s base hit to left. Grill moved to second on the throw home. A Callahan base hit scored Grill from second for the 2-0 Rebel lead.

 

Florida tied the game in the top of the sixth. With one out, Zick drove a base hit to centerfield. Ratliff followed with a base hit to third. Following a Brooks fly out, Kelly drove a bases clearing double to center for the tie. Hilberth singled through the left side. Kelly advanced to third on the play, hurdling the Ole Miss third baseman to get to the base. The third base umpire, Russell Pemberton, signaled obstruction on the home team as Kelly rounded third and headed home. Kelly was thrown out at the plate for what would have been the third out of the inning, but because of the obstruction call she was allowed to return safely at third, with Hilberth standing firm at second. That would be where they would stay though as Willit struck out the final Gator batter to end the inning.

 

Ole Miss took the lead again in the bottom half of the inning. Dowdy was hit by a Nelson pitch to lead off the inning. Amber Tramp reached on a fielder’s choice that left both runners safe. Both runner’s advanced on a wild pitch and scored on two Gator errors on Lauren Rowe’s at bat for the 4-2 lead.

 

The same pitchers got the decisions in the game two as in game one. Nelson moved to 16-9 with the loss. She pitched one inning and struck out two batters. Neither of the runs she gave up were earned. Senior Stacey Stevens (Gainesville, Fla.) started the game for Florida. She gave up all six Ole Miss hits, two runs and struck out a season-high eight batters. Willitt relieved started Becky Nye to start the fifth and earned the win to improve her record to 6-4 on the year. Each Ole Miss pitcher gave up four hits to the Gators. Nye struck out four and Willitt one.

 

Zick added another multiple hit game as she went 2-for-2 in game two. Ratliff also had multiple hits with a 2-for-3 performance.

 

The final game of the series begins at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday.

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