5/7 Florida Softball team (19-1) suffered its first loss of the season, 2-1,
losing a hard-fought 10-inning battle to Long Beach State
was truly a pitcherís dual as Florida junior
pitcher Stacey Nelson (Los Alamitos, Calif.) and Long Beach Stateís Brooke Turner were locked in a
scoreless tie through four innings. Each pitcher struck out seven batters and
each allowed only two hits in the opening four innings. Each guided her team
into the 10th inning and each struck out a career-high 16 batters in the game.
It was Turner (5-2), however, who would come out on top, handing Nelson (11-1)
and the Gators their first loss of the season.
bats would end the scoreless tie in the top of the fifth. Senior Mary Ratliff (Mt. Sterling, Ky.) led off the inning just beating out the
throw on an infield base hit. Freshman Ami
Austin (Ormond Beach, Fla.) came in to pinch run for Ratliff at
first. Austin moved to second on a sacrifice
bunt by freshman Tifffany DeFelice (Coral Springs, Fla.).
With two outs and a 1-2 count, sophomore Corrie Brooks (Christmas, Fla.) fought
off three more pitches before knocking a base hit to center field, just out of
the reach of the Long Beach centerfielder, to
from second for the 1-0 Gator lead.
Long Beach State got runners on base in
consecutive at bats for the first time in the game in the bottom of the sixth. Fransiska Morlet led off the
inning with a base hit just inside the left field line. Jessica Beaver followed
with another base hit just inside the right field line. Nelson struck out Jonae Perez on three straight pitches to give the Gators
the first out of the inning. Lacy Tyler
drew a walk from Nelson to load the bases with only one out. Nelson took down
Jennifer Griffin on strikes for the second out of the inning before walking
Brooke LeSage, tying the game at 1-1. Nelson fanned Danielle
Linke for the final out of the inning, sending the
Gators into the final inning or regulation with a tie game.
bottom half of the Gator lineup was due up in the top of the seventh. With one
out, DeFelice drew a walk to represent Floridaís potential go
ahead run. The final two batters of the inning went down on strikes though,
leaving the fate of the game up to Nelson and the Gator defense in the bottom
of the inning.
out, the 49ers number eight hitter, Ashley Levine,
drove a base hit through the right side. Nelson took Morlet
out on strikes for the second out of the inning before walking Beaver, moving
Levine into scoring position. Nelson took care of business though, tying her
career high with 13 strikeouts as she fanned Perez for the fourth time in the
game, sending the game into extra innings.
Waleszonia led off the inning, laying down a perfect bunt for her third hit of
the day. The next three batters were sat down in order though, ending the
The Florida defense retired
the 49ers in order in the bottom of the eighth, including two strikeouts
looking from Nelson.
Gators were not able to get a runner on base in their half of the ninth. Linke led off the bottom of the inning with a walk from
Nelson. She moved to second on a sacrifice by Weber and to third on a ground
out to first by Levine. Nelson sent the game into the 10th as she fanned her
16th batter of the game.
Junior Danyell Hines (Bryan, Texas)
started the 10th inning at second due to international tie breaker rules. She
moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by freshman Megan Bush (Anaheim Hills, Calif.). Brooks hit a fly ball to center
field, but it was not quite deep enough to score Hines. Turner intentionally
walked Waleszonia, putting Gators at first and third.
Freshman Kelsey Bruder
struck out for the final out.
Long Beachís 10th began much the same way as
the Gatorís. Morlet started the game at second and
moved to third on a Beaver sacrifice. Pinch hitter Bridgette Pagano popped up to Bush at short for the second out of the
inning. It looked as if the Gators would live another inning as Tyler hit an
infield ground ball deep to Paculba at second and she
threw to Gardiner at first. However, first base umpire Les Carr said Gardinerís
foot pulled from the bag, allowing Tyler
to reach and Morlet to score the winning run. Florida head coach Tim Walton calmly argued the call, and
the umpires conferenced to discuss the call, but held
firm, giving Long Beach
the 2-1 win.
Waleszonia propelled the Gator offense in the game with a 3-for-4 performance
and a walk. Brooks had the lone Gator RBI.
Florida continues its trip West this
weekend in the Worth Invitational in Fullerton,
Calif. The Gators play Oregon State
at Noon ET on Friday, followed by Pacific at 2:15 p.m. ET. All games w ill be
broadcast live on GatorZone.com via Yahoo.com.