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Sunday May 6, 2007Zick and Waleszonia Set Records in Florida Series Sweep

Lexington, KY

The No. 20 Florida Softball team (44-19, 17-11 SEC) capped the series sweep of Kentucky with two wins on Sunday. The Gators finished Saturday’s halted game with a 7-4 win and won Sunday’s regularly scheduled game 8-0 in five innings.

 

Two Gators broke school records on the day. Sophomore Kim Waleszonia (Fontana, Calif.) hit a double in the sixth inning of game one to set the school record for hits in a season with her 77th hit of the year. The previous record was 76 hits by Lora Pinkerton in 2000. Pinkerton was 76-for-243 in 2000. Waleszonia is currently 78-for-210 for Florida this season with post-season play remaining. Senior Melissa Zick (Tampa, Fla.) hit a home run in her first at bat of the day’s full game to set the school hit streak record at 14 games. Zick has hit safely in every game since the first game of the Auburn series on April 14. During the streak, Zick is hitting .512 (22-for-43) with 12 runs scored, 18 RBI, two doubles, a triple and seven home runs.   

 

The two teams were knotted at 0-0 through the first three innings of Saturday’s second game before two Gator home runs opened the scoring. Freshman Francesca Enea (Woodland Hills, Calif.) hit her fifth home run of the season to score the first run of the game. Ratliff knocked a base hit to left center to continue the inning. Sophomore Brooke Johnson (Lakeland, Fla.) came into pinch run for her. With two outs, Brooks had one of the best at bats of the season. She took Kentucky pitcher Amber Matousek to a full count then fouled off three more pitches, before jacking her second home run of the season out of the park in centerfield to give the Gators the 3-0 lead.

 

Florida added another run in the top of the fifth. Waleszonia led off the inning with a double to left for her 76th hit of the year, tying the school single season record. She moved to third on senior Lauren Roussell’s (Cerritos, Calif.) 15th sacrifice of the year. A double down the left field line with two outs in the inning by Zick scored Waleszonia for the 4-0 Florida lead.

 

Kentucky tied the game up in the bottom half of the inning. Natalie Smith led off the inning with a base hit through the right side. Alli Eckman followed with an infield base hit. Brooke Marnitz’s double to right scored Smith to narrow Florida’s lead to three runs. With one out and two runners on base, Molly Johnson hit a three run home run to left to knot the score at 4-4. A Gator error allowed one more runner on base before the defense took care of business to end the inning, including a strikeout by senior pitcher Stacey Stevens (Gainesville, Fla.) for the last out.

 

The game was halted due to a torrential down pour with a 2-2 count on Florida’s Johnson, the lead off batter of the sixth inning. When the game resumed Sunday morning, Johnson took the first pitch she was offered for a base hit through the left side. She moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by senior Lacy Howard (League City, Texas). Following the second out of the inning, sophomore Kristina Hilberth (Dunedin, Fla.) drove a base hit up the middle to score Johnson to give the Gators the 5-4 lead.

 

Three straight one-out walks in the top of the seventh led to two more Gator runs and the 7-4 lead. Sopohmore Ali Gardiner (Waccabuc, N.Y.) drew the first walk. Junior Ashley Harris (Royal Palm Beach, Fla.) came in to pinch run for her and stole second. Zick drew the second walk. She and Harris pulled off a double steal to put Gators at second and third. Enea drew the third consecutive walk of the inning to load the bases for Johnson. Lindsey Brogdon came in the replace Matousek in the circle for Kentucky. Senior Shelley Stevens (Gainesville, Fla.) entered the game to pinch run for Enea at first. Johnson grabbed a base hit to right center to score Harris and Zick for Florida’s final runs of the game.

 

Stacey Stevens struck out eight batters through five innings to earn the win and improve her record to 16-7 on the year. Sophomore Stacey Nelson (Los Alamitos, Calif.) pitched both of Sunday’s innings to earn her fifth save of the season, tying her own school record for single season saves. Matousek took the loss for Kentucky.

 

Ten Florida batters came to the plate as they Gators scored five runs in the first inning to open Sunday’s regularly scheduled game. Waleszonia was hit by a Brogdon pitch to lead off the game. Roussell knocked a double to center field, advancing Waleszonia to third. Waleszonia scored the first Gator run of the game on a RBI ground out by Gardiner. Zick set the school hit streak with her two-run home run just inside the left field foul pole. Junior Mary Ratliff (Mt. Sterling, Ky.) singled up the middle to continue the Gator rally with two outs in the inning. Howard doubled down the left field line, allowing Ratliff to score all the way from first. Jennifer Young relieved Bogdon in the circle for Kentucky and gave up a walk to Brooks. Hilberth slapped a hit to left center to score Howard and give Florida the 5-0 lead.

 

Roussell belted her fifth home run of the season over the fence in right center to lead off the second.

 

The Gators scored their final runs of the regular season in the fifth. With two outs, Brooks walked and then stole second. Hilberth and Waleszonia also walked to load the bases. Roussell’s third hit of the game was a two-run single ripped to center field to give the Gators the 8-0 lead.

 

Nelson took the win to improve to 28-12 on the year. She struck out nine through four innings and gave up only one hit. Stevens pitched the final inning and she and the Gator defense sat down the Cats in order. Brogdon took the loss for Kentucky.

 

Each of the Gator hitters had at least one hit through the series with Kentucky. Roussell led the team with four runs scored. She went 3-for-3 with three RBI in the final game. Zick led the team with five RBI on the weekend. She hit .556 over the series with two home runs and a double.

 

Florida will face Mississippi State in the Southeastern Conference Tournament on Thursday in Auburn, Ala. Game times will be released on Sunday evening once all the seeds for the tournament have been decided. The No. 4 and No. 5 seeds are the only seeds that have been determined thus far. The remaining seeds will be determined in games still to be played on Sunday afternoon.

 

 

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