The No. 5
Florida Softball team (26-1, 2-0 SEC) opened the Southeastern Conference
portion of the season with a doubleheader sweep of Ole Miss (13-6, 0-2 SEC) in Gainesville on Saturday
afternoon. The Gators tallied 14 hits in the two games, including six for extra
inning heroics by senior Mary Ratliff
(Mt. Sterling, Ky.)
its first SEC win of the season. With the game tied 3-3 in the bottom of the
seventh, junior Kim Waleszonia
led off with a single to center field. Freshman Aja Paculba (Wildomar, Calif.)
followed with an infield base hit. Two batters later, with two outs, Ratliff
stepped up to the plate and knocked the game-winning single to right field,
scoring Waleszonia for the 4-3 win.
Florida got on the board first, as the bottom half of the lineup
came up with Floridaís
first hits of the game in the bottom of the second. Ratliff led off the inning
with a base hit to right center. She advanced to second on a ground out to
short by freshman Megan Bush (Anaheim Hills, Calif.).
Junior Kristina Hilberth
reached on an infield base hit. A sophomore Corrie Brooks (Christmas, Fla.)
double to center plated Ratliff and advanced Hilberth
to third. Waleszonia brought Hilberth
home with a sacrifice fly to left for a 2-0 Gator lead.
came back to take a one-run lead in the top of the fourth. Three straight walks
from Florida junior pitcher Stacey Nelson (Los Alamitos, Calif.)
loaded the bases for the Rebels. Michelle May reached on a fielderís choice as
Brooks connected to Hilberth to throw Lauren Grill
out at the plate. Lauren Rowe reached on a Gator error, allowing Ashley Dowdy
to score and leaving the bases still loaded. An Aly Presswood base hit tied the game at 1-1. Morgan Button
grounded out to second for the second out of the inning, but May came home to
give put the Rebels up by one.
home run, her fourth of the season, tied the game at 3-3 in the home half of
loaded the bases on three walks with one out in the sixth inning, but Floridaís defense shut
them down. Nelson struck out Alise Doubt and Lisa
Conchos lined out to junior Brooke
Johnson (Lakeland, Fla.) for the last out.
(15-1) gave up only two hits in the win, but walked eight. She also struck out
seven Rebel batters. Tara Willit started the game for
Ole Miss, but was relieved by Lindsey Perry to start the fifth. Perry took the
loss, evening her record at 2-2. The Ole Miss pitchers
gave up 10 hits, walked four and struck out three Gators.
Gators scored first again in the second game of the doubleheader to end the
second inning leading 2-0. With one out, junior Ali Gardiner (Waccabuc, N.Y.)
knocked a double to center field. Ratliff followed with a RBI triple, the first
of her career. Ratliff came home on a sacrifice fly to left by Waleszonia.
lead to 2-1 in the top of the fifth as Doubt scored on a Grill RBI single up
Florida stretched the lead again in the
fifth. Hilberth led off with a single up the middle.
Brooks followed with a perfectly laid bunt single. Waleszonia
hit the Gators second triple of the game, her third of the season, to score Hilberth and Brooks for the 4-1 advantage.
caused some trouble in the top of the seventh as Grill hit a one-out home run
with a runner on to bring the Rebels within one. Nelson came in the game to
relieve freshman hurler Stephanie Brombacher (Pembroke
Pines, Fla.). Nelson
gave up a hit to the first batter she faced, but followed that with a strikeout
for the second out of the inning. Dowdy was able to move to third on two wild
pitches and Rowe walked to put runners on first and third, but Nelson took care
of business, striking out Button for the final out of the game to preserve the
Brombacher moved to 10-0 on the season, while Nelson earned her second save. The
Gators were out hit for only the second time all season as Brombacher
scattered eight hits, while Ole Miss pitcher Becky Nye
(6-2) gave up six to the Gators in the loss.
teams will close out the series on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.