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Saturday February 9, 2008Softball Scores 16 Runs on Opening Day

Gainesville, FL

The No. 13/13 Florida Softball team (2-0) won its first two games in the USF Wilson Invitational, defeating Bethune-Cookman 10-0 in five innings and Florida Gulf Coast 6-4.

 

It was a great start for the Florida offense as they scored 16 runs on 19 hits through the two games. The 19 hits included four doubles and three home runs. The Gators were walked nine times and only struck out three times. Junior Kristina Hilberth (Dunedin, Fla.) and freshman Aja Paculba (Wildomar, Calif.) led the Gators with four hits a piece. Paculba also added four RBI. Hilberth and junior Kim Waleszonia (Fontana, Calif.) each scored three runs for Florida over the two games.

 

The Gators opened the 2008 season with a 10-0, five inning win over Bethune-Cookman. Florida scored at least one run in each of the five innings.

 

Waleszonia led off the 2008 season with a base hit to shallow center. She stole second. Hilberth followed with a base hit. Waleszonia moved into scoring position as she advanced on a deep fly ball to right by Paculba. A sacrifice fly to center by sophomore Francesca Enea (Woodland Hills, Calif.) brought in Waleszonia for the first run of the season.

 

With two outs in the second inning, freshman Megan Bush (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) knocked her first career home run over the right center field fence in her first collegiate at bat. Freshman Shaunice Harris (Moreno Valley, Calif.) and Waleszonia continued the Gators’ two-out rally with back-to-back base hits. Both runners advanced on a passed ball. A Hilberth base hit scored Harris to put the Gators up 3-0. Paculba knocked in three runs with her first collegiate home run to give Florida a 6-0 lead.

 

Junior Ali Gardiner (Waccabuc, N.Y.) led off the bottom of the third with a walk. Junior Danyell Hines (Bryan, Texas) came in to pinch run for her and scored on a senior Mary Ratliff (Mt. Sterling, Ky.) double to left. Ratliff advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a Le-Net Franklin (Belton, Texas) base hit up the middle. Franklin advanced to second on a Bush groundout to short and to third on a wild pitch. She scored the Gators’ third run of the inning on a Harris RBI ground out for a 9-0 lead.

 

Junior Brooke Johnson (Lakeland, Fla.) scored Florida’s final run of the game on Ratliff’s second double of the game.

 

Freshman Stephanie Brombacher (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) allowed only one hit and struck out seven in her first collegiate win.

 

The second game of the evening was much closer as Florida Gulf Coast gave the Gators a scare in the fourth inning.

 

The Gators held a comfortable 4-0 lead going into the top of the fourth. Three straight Eagle hits loaded the bases with only one out in the inning. Samantha Waldron drew a RBI walk. After a strikeout for the second out of the inning, Courtney Platt was hit by a junior Stacey Nelson (Los Alamitos, Calif.) pitch to bring in another run. Another walk and a Gator brought in two more runs to tie the game at 4-4 with two outs. Nelson struck out the final batter of the half inning and let her offense set back to work.

 

In the bottom half of the fourth, Hilberth and Paculba led off the inning with back-to-back base hits then executed a double steal to put both runners into scoring position. An Enea sacrifice fly scored Hilberth and put Florida back in the lead 5-4.

 

Florida added an insurance run in the sixth as Hines scored from first on a Gardiner double off the right centerfield wall.

 

Nelson struck out a career-high 12 batters in the win. She now has 49 career wins.

 

The Gators continue Wilson Invitational play on Saturday at 2 p.m. against Illinois and will take on Memphis at 6 p.m. Both games will air live on WRUF AM 850 in Gainesville and www.wruf.com and www.GatorZone.com.

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