10/11 Florida Softball team (7-0) used offensive power and aggressive base
running to sweep a midweek doubleheader with Mercer in the 2008 home opener at
Katie Seashole Pressly
Stadium. The Gators bats produced 17 runs on 17 hits in the doubleheader,
winning the first game 5-0 and the second 12-1 in five innings.
Freshman Megan Bush (Anaheim Hills, Calif.)
led the Gators, going 4-for-6 in the two games, including a perfect 3-for-3
performance in game two. Freshman Aja Paculba (Wildomar,
Calif.) and junior Ali Gardiner (Waccabuc, N.Y.)
each went 2-for-2 in the first game with Gardiner tallying three of the Gators
five RBI in the game. Sophomore Francesca
finished the doubleheader 3-for-5 with two runs scored and four RBI. The Gators
stole eight bases through the two games, including three from junior Kim Waleszonia (Fontana, Calif.).
Florida opened the scoring in the bottom
of the first. Waleszonia
was hit by a pitch to lead off the Gatorsí first at bat. She then stole second.
took Mercer pitcher Lacey Richardson to a full count before drawing a one-out
walk. Gardiner† drove a two-out single to left to
score Waleszonia for the 1-0 lead.
Gators added two more runs in their half of the third as Enea† knocked a two-out
homer to center field.
Waleszonia was hit by a pitch for the second time in the game to lead off the
Gator half of the fifth. With one out, Paculba hit an
infield single. A well-executed double steal found the runners on second and
third. Gardiner got her second two-out hit of the game with a two-RBI double to
left center for the 5-0 lead.
Junior Stacey Nelson (Los Alamitos, Calif.)
struck out nine and improved her record to 4-0 on the season. Richardson took the loss for Mercer moving
her record to 1-2.
Florida scored first again in game two,
putting up two runs in the first inning. Junior Le-Net Franklin (Belton, Texas)
and Paculba were both hit by pitches and scored on Eneaís two-RBI double that hugged the left field line.
closed the gap to 2-1 in the top of the fourth as Jena Ellis scored on a double
by Holly Oglesbee.
Gators had a huge fourth inning, putting up 10 runs on eight hits. Freshman Kristine Priebe
(Moorpark, Calif.) started the Gators with a one-out
double to left field. She advanced to third on a wild pitch. Fellow freshman Megan Bush (Anaheim Hills,
Calif.) brought her home with a
base hit up the middle. Freshman Ami
Austin (Ormond Beach, Calif.) came in to pinch run for Bush. Sophomore Corrie Brooks
and Waleszonia hit back-to-back base hits to load the
bases. Mercerís Natalie Jones came in to replace Allison Jones in the circle.
Senior Mary Ratliff (Mt.
stepped up to the plate and drove a two-RBI single up the middle, scoring
Austin and Brooks. Waleszonia and Ratliff executed a
double steal to put them both in scoring position. After the second out of the
inning, Mercer intentionally walked Enea to again
load the bases and give their defense a chance for a force out at any base to
end the inning. Gardiner thwarted the Bearsí plan, however, as she drove
another hit up the middle for another Gator run. A RBI walk to DeFelice forced Mercer to make another pitching change,
this time going to Nikki Bylak. Bylak
walked Priebe and Bush grabbed her second hit of the
inning to give the Gators two more runs and put the Gators up 9-1. All runners
advanced and DeFelice scored on a Bylak
wild pitch. Brooks knocked her second hit of the inning to left center to score
two more Gators runs, giving the Gators the 12-1 win.
Freshman Stephanie Brombacher
(Pembroke Pines, Fla.) pitched 4.1 innings, striking out four
to earn her third win of the year. Freshman Kristen Adkins (McKinney,
Texas) pitched the final two outs
in her first appearance of the season.
Florida continues its 14-game home stand
this weekend as it hosts the Cox Communications Classic. Teams in the
tournament include College of Charleston, East
Tennessee State, North Carolina
and Stetson. Play begins at 9 a.m. on Friday. Florida
begins play at 4 p.m. on Friday against East Tennessee
State. The complete
tournament is available at www.GatorZone.com. ††