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Friday March 14, 2008Softball Wins 30th Game of Season

Fayetteville, AR

The Florida softball team won its 30th game of the 2008 season, sweeping a double header at Arkansas (21-8, 1-4 SEC) 1-0 and 3-1. Florida now stands at 30-2 on the season and 6-1 in Southeastern Conference play.


Florida opened the scoring early in the second game of the day. Junior Kim Waleszonia (Fontana, Calif.) reached on an Arkansas error to lead off the game. Freshman Aja Paculba (Wildomar, Calif.) drove a base hit through the left side and advanced to second on the throw. Waleszonia held up at third, leaving two Gators in scoring position. A wild pitch from Lady Back pitcher Miranda Dixon allowed Waleszonia to score and moved Paculba to third. A solid hit through the left side by sophomore Francesca Enea (Woodland Hills, Calif.) plated Paculba and put the Gators up 2-0.


Arkansas cut the Gator lead in half in the bottom of the opening frame. Leadoff batter Jessica Bachkora grabbed a base hit to center. She advanced to second on a Kayla Johnson sacrifice bunt. Miranda Dixon walked to put the Lady Backs at first and third. Following a strikeout from Florida freshman pitcher Stephanie Brombacher (Pembroke Pines, Fla.), Whitney Cloer knocked a RBI single to right center scoring Backhora to make the score 2-1 in favor of the Gators.


Florida went up 3-1 in the top of the fifth. Paculba lead off the inning with a walk from Dixon. She advanced to second on an Enea sacrifice bunt right in front of the plate. Paculba moved over to third on a ground out to third by junior Ali Gardiner (Waccabuc, N.Y.). An error by Arkansas allowed Paculba to score for the tw-run Gator lead.


Brombacher improved to 11-0 on the season with the win. She allowed only four hits, walked two and struck out five. Dixon took the loss for Arkansas to move to 8-3 on the year.


Game one saw the pitchers battle each other from the circle, but a late Gator run proved to be the difference in the game.


The two teams were knotted at 1-1 going into the seventh inning, when an Arkansas error and timely Gator hitting gave Florida the 1-0 lead. With two outs in the inning, Waleszonia reached and advanced to second on an error. Paculba stepped up and knocked her third hit of the day, a double, to left to score Waleszonia.


Arkansas made things interesting in the bottom half of the seventh. With one out, Sandra Smith and Whitney Cloer hit back-to-back base singles to center, putting the Lady Backs in a first and third situation. Florida junior pitcher Stacey Nelson (Los Alamitos, Calif.) handled her own though as she forced a Dayna Huckabee ground out back to the circle and struck out Samantha Buckner for the final out of the game.


With the win, Nelson improved to 18-2 on the season and recorded her seventh complete game shut out. She struck out nine and did not give up a walk in the game while scattering four Lady Back hits. Katy Henry gave up nine hits to the Gators in the loss to move to 10-3. She struck out seven and walked one.


The Gators and Lady Backs will play the final game of the three-game set Saturday at 1 p.m. ET. The game will air live on via

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