Florida Softball team (32-16, 8-8 SEC) shut out Southeastern Conference foe Arkansas (16-33, 3-12
SEC) 4-0 and 5-0 in a doubleheader at the Florida Softball Stadium Friday night.
The Gators won by playing two complete games withh stellar pitching performances
and strong bats.
Gators broke the scoreless tie in the bottom of the fourth inning in game one
when freshman Francesca Enea (Woodland Hills, Calif.)
hit a homerun, her fourth of season, off the left field foul pole. Sophomore Ali Gardiner (Waccabuc, N.Y.)
followed with a single to center. With two outs, junior Mary Ratliff (Mt. Sterling, Ky.) drove a double to left center
field to score Gardiner, giving the Gators a 2-0 lead. Ratliff’s double was her
seventh on the season, giving her twice as many doubles this season as the
previous two years of her career.
Gators got going again in the fifth inning. Sophomore Kim Waleszonia (Fontana,
Calif.) reached first with a bunt
single. Senior Lauren Roussell (Cerritos, Calif.)
then singled to left. Waleszonia and
Roussell executed a perfect double steal on the next pitch putting both runners
is scoring position for Enea. Waleszonia was caught in a pickle between third
and home as Enea hit into a fielder’s choice to third base for the second out
of the inning. Freshman Corrie Brooks
came in to pinch run for Enea at first base. Brooks swiped second base on the
next pitch for her fifth steal of the season. With two outs, Gardiner drove a
single to center field to score Roussell and Brooks to put the Gators up by
pitched a complete game shutout, recording nine strikeouts while surrendering only
one hit to the Lady Backs. This was the second one-hitter in Nelson’s career,
the other coming against Florida International earlier this season. Katy Henry
took the loss for Arkansas
to move to 10-15 on the year.
Gators scored quickly in the first inning of game two to set the tone for the
game. Waleszonia led off with a single to second base. She stole second for her team-leading 15th
steal of the season. Roussell was hit by a pitch. Enea advanced the runners with
a ground out to shortstop. Gardiner scored Waleszonia and Roussell with a
double to right field to give the Gators a 2-0 lead.
strung a few hits together in the fourth to add to their lead. Senior Lacy
Howard (League City, Texas) and Ratliff reached base on a pair of
singles. Sophomore Brooke Johnson (Lakeland, Fla.)
ripped her second double of the season to score Howard and give the Gators a
Gators put another run on the board in the fifth inning as senior Melissa Zick (Tampa,
Fla.) hit her fourth homerun of the season to
put Florida ahead 4-0. Zick’s homerun tied her with Enea and Howard for
the team lead.
Gators kept rolling into the sixth inning. Waleszonia reached on a bunt
single. Roussell drew a walk to put Waleszonia
in scoring position. Enea singled to score Waleszonia to give the Gators the
final 5-0 lead.
Gators received another strong pitching performance, this time from senior Stacy Stevens (Gainesville, Fla.).
Stevens held the Lady Backs scoreless while striking out three and surrendering
only five hits.
the Gators were led by Gardiner who put together a 4-for-7 performance on the
day with four RBI, a run scored and a double. Waleszonia also went 4-for-7 with
two runs scored and two stolen bases. Ratliff extended her hitting streak to
seven games to tie her career high. She finished the day 3-for-5 with a RBI and
a double. Zick finished the day 3-for-7 with a home run and now needs only two
more runs to set the Florida
career record for runs scored.
Florida and Arkansas
will face off in the series finale at noon on Saturday. There will be lots of
fun for the kids at the Florida Softball Stadium. It is Eggstravaganza
Saturday. There will be an egg hunt for all fans 12 and under prior to the
game, there will be an egg coloring contest and a bunny will be handing out