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Sunday February 10, 2008Softball Wins USF Invitational With 5-1 Victory Over Bulls

Tampa, FL

The No. 13 Florida Softball team (5-0) won the USF\Wilson Invitational in Tampa, Fla. on Sunday afternoon. The Gators earned a 5-1 come from behind win over the Bulls to go 5-0 in the tournament.


For the first time in the tournament, Floridaís opponent got on the board first, as USF took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Britta Giddens led off the inning with an infield base hit. Tara Toscano reached on a fielderís choice that also found Giddens safe at second on a Gator error. Both runners moved into scoring position on a double steal. The Florida defense got the first out of the inning as junior pitcher Stacey Nelson (Los Alamitos, Calif.) and junior catcher Kristina Hilberth (Dunedin, Fla.) combined to catch Giddens attempting to take home after a wild pitch. Kit Dunbar and Jo Jo Medina drew back-to-back walks to load the bases. Cat Olnick knocked a RBI base hit through the left side to give USF the 1-0 lead and keep the bases loaded. Nelson was able bare down in the circle and strike out the next two batters, ending the Bullís scoring threat.


Florida used a big fourth inning to take the lead. Freshman Aja Paculba (Wildomar, Calif.) led off with a walk. Sophomore Francesca Enea (Woodland Hills, Calif.) grabbed a base hit through the left side for her first hit of the season. Both runners advanced on a wild pitch. USF brought Capri Catalano in from the bull pen to relieve starter Courtney Mosch. Junior Ali Gardiner (Waccabuc, N.Y.) watched four straight balls to load the bases for senior Mary Ratliff (Mt. Sterling, Ky.). Ratliff blasted a double to the right centerfield wall to put the Gators on the board and in the 2-1 lead. Gardiner scored and Ratliff advanced to third on a sacrifice fly to center by freshman Megan Bush (Anaheim Hills, Calif.). Ratliff scored the final run of the inning on a wild pitch, putting Florida up 4-1.


The Gators added one more run in the fifth. Junior Kim Waleszonia (Fontana, Calif.) led off the inning with a triple to right and scored as the cut off over threw third, giving the Gators the 5-1 lead.


Nelson earned her third win of the season. She struck out 10 USF batters to mark her third consecutive game with double digit strikeouts.


Florida will open the 2008 home season on Wednesday with a doubleheader against Mercer beginning at 4 p.m. at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.

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