The No. 19 Florida Softball team (45-19) won its opening
round game in the Southeastern Conference tournament, defeating MississippiState
(34-25), 3-0, in Auburn, Ala. The win was Florida’s first in the conference tournament
Florida took the lead in the bottom of
the third. Sophomore Kim Waleszonia (Fontana,
Calif.) beat out an infield hit
to start the Gator rally. Her hit extended her hit streak to nine games, a
career-long. She moved to second on senior Lauren
Calif.) second sacrifice of the
game. A ground out from sophomore Ali
N.Y.) advanced Waleszonia to third. Senior Melissa Zick (Tampa, Fla.)
extended her hit streak to 15 games with a base hit through the left side to
score Waleszonia and give the Gators the 1-0 lead.
Roussell hit her sixth home run of the
season to put Florida
up 2-0 with one out in the bottom of the fifth frame.
The Gators scored their final run on some heads up base
running in the sixth. Junior Mary
reached on a walk from Kelsey Nurnberg. She advanced
to second on a sacrifice bunt from senior Lacy
Howard (League City, Texas). Ratliff advanced to third on a Nurnberg illegal pitch. She
stole home to score Florida’s
final run and give her team the three-run lead.
MississippiState got its only hit of the game on
base in the top of the fourth. SEC Freshman of the Year Chelsea Bramlett led off the inning with a base hit through the
right side. She moved to third on two consecutive sacrifice bunts, but would
get no further as Katie Cooley grounded out to Roussell
at short to end the inning.
Nelson (Los Alamitos,
Calif.) improved to 29-12 on the
year with the win. The shut out was her 11th on the year and the 22nd for the
Gators overall. MississippiState starter Kelli Miller pitched 4.0 innings in the loss. There was
only one strikeout recorded in the game as Nurnberg
struck out Florida sophomore Kristina Hilberth
The Gators now advance to the tournament semifinals to
face either Tennessee
or Ole Miss at 8:30 p.m. ET on Friday. The game will be broadcast live on WRUF
AM 850, WRUF.com and GatorZone.com. Live stats and free live video are
available at auburntigers.com.