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Sunday March 9, 2008Softball Completes Sweep of Ole Miss on Opening Weekend of SEC Play

Gainesville, FL

The No. 5 Florida Softball team (27-1, 3-0 SEC) completed the sweep in its first Southeastern Conference series of the season, defeating Ole Miss (13-8, 0-3 SEC), 5-2 on Sunday at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. It is the first time under head coach Tim Walton the Gators have earned three wins to start SEC play.

 

With one out in the second, junior Kristina Hilberth (Dunedin, Fla.) reached on an error by the Ole Miss third baseman. Sophomore Corrie Brooks (Christmas, Fla.) was hit by a Tara Willit pitch. Junior Kim Waleszonia (Fontana, Calif.) knocked a base hit to center field to load the bases. Freshman Aja Paculba (Wildomar, Calif.) drove a base hit up the middle to score Hilberth and Brooks and put the Gators up 2-0.

 

Ole Miss cut the Gator lead in half in the top of the fourth. Lauren Grill led off the inning with a double to left center. Following a strikeout from Florida junior pitcher Stacey Nelson (Los Alamitos, Calif.), a double from Amber Tramp scored Grill, making the score 2-1.

 

Florida extended its lead in the bottom half of the same inning. Paculba led off the inning with a walk from Willit. Sophomore Francesca Enea (Woodland Hills, Calif.) singled to left field. Junior Brooke Johnson (Lakeland, Fla.) came in to pinch run for her. Freshman Tiffany DeFelice (Coral Springs, Fla.) dropped a bunt right between the Ole Miss catcher and pitcher to load the bases. Becky Nye came in to replace Willit in the pitching circle. Senior Mary Ratliff (Mt. Sterling, Ky.) drew a walk on a 3-1 count from Nye to score Paculba and leave the bases loaded. A sacrifice fly from junior Ali Gardiner (Waccabuc, N.Y.) scored Johnson giving the Gators a 4-1 lead.

 

The Gatorsí scored their final run in the fifth. Paculba drew a one-out walk on four straight balls. Enea was hit by a Nye pitch. DeFelice battled during a 12-pitch at bat for a RBI single to center and a four-run lead for the Gators.

 

Ole Miss tacked on one more run in the sixth. Lisa Conchos drew a lead off walk. She was thrown out at second on a fielderís choice play that left Grill safe at first. Ashley Dowdy drew the second walk of the inning from Nelson. Nelson followed with a strikeout to Tramp for the second out of the inning. Two straight hits from Lauren Rowe and Morgan Button scored grill for the final 5-2 score.

 

Nelson improved to 16-1 on the year with the win. She struck out five, walked three and gave up eight hits. Willit took the loss for Ole Miss, moving to 5-4 on the year. She walked two and gave up seven hits. Nye recorded the lone Gator strikeout, but gave up two hits and five walks.

 

The Gator batters had many additional opportunities to score, but left 15 runners on base in the game. Florida left at least two runners stranded in each inning.

 

Floridaís defense looked sharp in the game as they made some impressive plays to stop the Rebels in their tracks and recorded two double plays in the game.

 

Florida looks to sharpen its skills in practice on Monday and Tuesday before returning to action on Wednesday when they will take on No. 2/3 Alabama in Tuscaloosa. The midweek doubleheader begins at 6 p.m. ET. Both games will be broadcast live on WRUF AM 850 in Gainesville and www.WRUF.com and www.GatorZone.com worldwide.

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