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Sunday April 15, 2007Softball Splits Sunday Games With Auburn, Wins Series 2-1

Auburn, AL

The No. 22 Florida Softball team (34-18, 10-10 SEC) split games with the Auburn Tigers (20-27, 7-15 SEC) on a cold and windy Sunday afternoon in Auburn. The Gators fell 6-5 in the continuation on Saturday’s halted game, but took the second game of the day 2-0 in eight innings.


In game two, both teams were scoreless through the first seven innings. Sophomore Ali Gardiner (Waccabuc, N.Y.) reached base for the fourth time in the game on a base hit to left center. Senior Melissa Zick (Tampa, Fla.) hit her sixth home run of the season to give the Gators the 2-0 lead.


Florida’s defense took care of business in the bottom half of the inning and put down the Tigers in order.


Florida had chances to score early as they left bases loaded in each the first and the third innings.


Gardiner went 2-for-2 on the game and also walked twice. Sophomore Kim Waleszonia (Fontana, Calif.) was 2-for-3 with two stolen bases.


Florida began Sunday’s play with a 4-0 lead heading into the bottom of the fourth. The Gators had put up two runs each in the top of the second and the fourth before the game was halted due to lightning in the area.


Gardiner led off the second with a base hit to right. She advanced to second on a passed ball. Zick knocked her fifth home run of the season over the centerfield wall to give the Gators the 2-0 lead. Zick’s run was the 130th of her career, setting the Florida career record for runs scored.


Gardiner and Zick also scored Florida’s runs in the fourth. Gardiner drew a one-out walk. Zick followed with a double to left. Holly Currie came in to replace starter Brittany Day in the pitching circle. Both runners came in on base hit to right field by junior Mary Ratliff (Mt. Sterling, Ky.)


Auburn tied the game up in the bottom of the fourth, the first inning in the halted game played on Sunday. Sara Ghezzi led off the inning with a base hit up the middle. A base hit by Currie and a Gator error put runners at second and third. Myesha Finney hit a sacrifice fly to right to score Ghezzi for Auburn’s first run of the series. With two outs, Lindsey Harrelson drew a walk and Brittany Scott walked to load the bases. Ashley Arcuri hit a bases-clearing double to centerfield to tie the game at 4-4.


Florida took the lead again in the top of the fifth. Sophomore Kim Waleszonia (Fontana, Calif.) drew a walk. She moved to third as senior Lauren Roussell (Cerritos, Calif.) ripped a double to left. Waleszonia crossed the plate for the one-run Gator lead on a wild pitch from Currie.


Auburn plated two runs in the sixth for the 6-5 lead. Finney grabbed a lead off hit off a 3-2 count from Florida senior pitcher Stacey Stevens (Gainesville, Fla.). Sophomore Stacey Nelson (Los Alamitos, Calif.) came in the game in relief of Stevens. Nicole Russo reached on a fielder’s choice as Nelson threw Finney out at second. With two outs, Scott hit a triple down the left line for the 5-5 tie. Ashley Arcuri reached on an error and Scott scored for the 6-5 lead.


The Gators had a chance to tie the game in the seventh, but fell just short. Roussell drove a leadoff base hit to centerfield and advanced on a ground out to first from Gardiner. Zick drew a two-out walk, but would get no further as the Tigers recorded the final out of the game to take the win.


Nelson earned the decision in both games to move her record to 21-11 on the season. She pitched nine innings on the day, giving up only four hits and one run, which was not earned. She struck out seven in game two. Currie earned the win in the first game, improving her record to 8-11. Thompson earned a save, her third of the season, in game one and took the loss in game two to move to 11-13 on the year.  


Zick led the Gators with a 5-for-8 performance on the weekend with four runs scored, four RBI, a double and two home runs. She also walked twice, was hit by a pitch and did not strikeout all weekend. Ratliff had two hits on the weekend and recorded five RBI with those two hits. Gardiner was 3-for-8 on the weekend with three runs scored and three walks.


Florida returns to action on Wednesday against UCF at the Florida Softball Stadium in a single game beginning at 6 p.m.

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