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Sunday April 1, 2007Softball Defeats Ole Miss in Series Finale

Oxford, MS

The Florida offense found its rhythm as the Gator softball team (28-16, 6-8 SEC) tallied 13 hits in a 8-4 win over the Ole Miss Rebels on Sunday in Oxford.


The Gators got on the board first in the opening frame. Senior Lauren Roussell (Cerritos, Calif.) drew a one-out walk from Ole Miss hurler Mary Jane Callahan. Roussell moved to third on two consecutive Callahan wild pitches. Sophomore Ali Gardinerís (Waccabuc, N.Y.) base hit scored Roussell for Florida to take the lead. Following the second out of the inning, senior Melissa Zick (Tampa, Fla.) drove her first career triple to right center to score Gardiner and put the Gators up by two runs. Becky Nye came in to replace Callahan in the pitching circle. Junior Mary Ratliff (Mt. Sterling, Ky.) went to a 1-1 count before driving a double to left center to score Zick and put the Gators up 3-0.


Ole Miss narrowed Floridaís lead to just one run in the bottom of the second. With one out, Ashley Dowdy hit a single to left. Courtnie Ghinaudo drew a two-out walk from senior pitcher Stacey Stevens (Gainesville, Fla.). Lauren Rowe drove a double to center to score both runners and make the score 3-2.


Florida tacked on three more runs in third. Zick started the Gators with a one-out single to left. She advanced to second on a wild pitch from Nye. Ratliff reached on an error by the Rebel third baseman. A freshman Corrie Brooks (Christmas, Fla.) base hit scored Zick and advanced Ratliff to third. Brooks moved to second on the throw to try to get Zick at home. Ratliff scored and Brooks moved to third on another Nye wild pitch. Sophmore Kristina Hilberth (Dunedin, Fla.) drew a two-out walk from Nye to out runners at first and third. Brooks snuck home on an attempted double steal to give Florida the 6-2 lead.


The Gators went up 7-2 in the fifth inning. Hilberth knocked down a two-out infield base hit and came home on a double from sophomore Kim Waleszonia (Fontana, Calif.).


Florida added one more in the following inning. Gardiner led off the inning with a double to left. Senior Lacy Howard (League City, Texas) was safe on an infield base hit, moving Gardiner to third. Zick reached on a fielderís choice and Howard moved to third as Gardiner was thrown out at the plate. Zick stole second to put two Gators in scoring position. With one out, Brooks hit a RBI single at the Ole Miss Short stop to put her team up 8-2.


Ole Miss scored one run in each of the last two innings. In the sixth, Lisa Conchos hit a one-out solo home run to center. In the seventh, Dowdy drew a leadoff walk. She scored from first on a Amber Tramp double. The Gators retired the next three batters, including two strikeouts from Stevens for the 8-4 Gator win.


Stevens earned the complete game win to improve to 12-7 on the season. Florida saw all three of the Ole Miss pitchers, but starting pitcher Mary Jane Callahan received the loss, moving her record to 8-7.


Five Gators had multiple hit performances on the day. Zick, Howard, Gardiner and Brooks each finished the day 2-for-4. Zick reached on all four of her at bats as she also reached twice on fielderís choice plays. Zick scored two runs for the Gators. She now has scored 127 career runs and needs just three more to set the school record. Brooks led the Gators with two RBI on the day. Waleszonia finished the day 3-for-5 with a RBI.


Florida returns to the Florida Softball Stadium on Wednesday for a doubleheader against instate rival Florida State. Both games of the doubleheader will air live on Sun Sports. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m.



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