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Wednesday February 13, 2008Softball Scores 17 Runs in Doubleheader Sweep

Gainesville, FL

The No. 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 Enea (Woodland Hills, Calif.) 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. Paculba took Mercer pitcher Lacey Richardson to a full count before drawing a one-out walk. Gardinerdrove a two-out single to left to score Waleszonia for the 1-0 lead.

 

The Gators added two more runs in their half of the third as Eneaknocked 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.

 

Mercer closed the gap to 2-1 in the top of the fourth as Jena Ellis scored on a double by Holly Oglesbee.

 

The 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 (Christmas, Fla.) 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. Sterling, Ky.) 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.

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