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Saturday February 9, 2008Softball Defeats Illini 3-2

Tampa, FL

The No. 13 Florida Softball team (3-0) won its third game in the USF/Wilson Invitational in Tampa, Fla. on Saturday afternoon. The Gators defeated Illinois 3-2, as senior Mary Ratliff (Mt. Sterling, Ky.) and freshman Tiffany DeFelice (Coral Springs, Fla.) led the gators with two hits a piece.

 

DeFelice went 2-for-2 with a double, a sacrifice, a run scored and two RBI. Ratliff was 2-for-3 with a run scored.

 

Ratliff began a two-out rally in the top of the second with a base hit through the right side. She scored from first on a double that squeezed the left field line by DeFelice. Freshman Megan Bush (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) continued the rally with a base hit to left to score DeFelice, putting the Gators up 2-0.

 

The Gators added another run in the top of the fourth. Junior Ali Gardiner (Waccabuc, N.Y.) grabbed a one-out single to left. Freshman Ami Austin (Ormond Beach, Fla.) came in to pinch run for her and advanced to second on a Ratliff ground out. Austin stole third to put herself in scoring position. DeFelice grabbed her second hit of the day to score Austin for the 3-0 Gator lead.

 

Illinois came back in the bottom of the fourth. Hope Howell drew a lead off walk. She advanced to third on a double to left by Shanna Diller. Howell just beat out Ratliff’s throw from right field to score on Lana Armstrong’s sacrifice fly. Diller came in to score on a wild pitch and narrowed the Gator lead to just one run at 3-2.  

 

The Illini loaded the bases on two hits and a walk with two outs in the bottom of the sixth. Junior pitcher Stacey Nelson (Los Alamitos, Calif.) was able to bare down and get the final out on three straight strikes to end the inning.

 

Nelson struck out 10 batters in the win to improve her record to 2-0. This marked the first time in her career Nelson struck out 10 or more batters in consecutive games.

 

Florida continues USF/Wilson Invitational play at 6 p.m. Saturday evening against Memphis.  

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