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Sunday March 23, 2008Softball Completes Series Sweep of Longwood

Gainesville, FL

The No. 3/4 University of Florida Softball team defeated Longwood University 11-2 on Sunday afternoon. The three-game sweep of the Lancers improved Floridaís record to 35-2 on the season and dropped Longwood to 17-10 for the year.

 

Floridaís offense was driven by a trio of freshmen that powered the Gators to its most runs scored since a 15-0 victory over Gardner Webb on February 22nd. Kelsey Bruder (Corona, Calif.) led the Orange and Blue by going 1-for-2 with three RBI, two runs and a walk. Megan Bush (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) went a perfect 2-for-2, collecting two RBI. Kristen Adkins pinch-hit for Florida in the fourth and hit her first career home run with a towering shot off the scoreboard in left that knocked in three runs.

 

Junior pitcher Stacey Nelson (Los Alamitos, Calif.) pitched her second complete game in as many days, garnering her 21st victory of the season. She struck out six and gave up no earned runs. Longwood starting pitcher Briana Wells gave up four runs over three innings to drop her record to 7-4 on the season. Catelyn Slagle pitched 0.2 innings in relief, giving up the remaining seven runs.

 

Floridaís scoring began in the first when junior Kim Waleszonia (Fontana, Calif.) hit a lead off single. After junior Ali Gardiner (Waccabuc, N.Y.) knocked Waleszonia over to second, sophomore Francesca Enea (Woodland Hills, Calif.) hit a two-out line drive off the wall in left to score Waleszonia. Senior Mary Ratliff (Mt. Sterling, Ky.) delivered a sharp hit single to center, knocking in Enea for a 2-0 Florida lead.

 

A strong third inning would make it 4-0 in favor of the Orange and Blue. Ratliff drew a walk. Junior Brooke Johnson (Lakeland, Fla.)entered the game to run for Ratliff at first and stole second. Bruder followed with another walk and junior Kristina Hilberth (Dunedin, Fla.) reached on a fielderís choice that saw Johsnon thrown out at third. With two runners on and two outs, Bush connected with a bases clearing double to left.

 

Waleszonia tied the school record for triples in a season with five when she led off the bottom of the fourth with a shot to right. Waleszonia would score when the Longwood shortstop committed an error, allowing freshmen Aja Paculba (Wildomar, Calif.) to reach first. Gardiner reached on a base hit, but Paculba got tangled up with the ball and was called out for runner interference for the first out of the inning. A single by Enea and a Johnson walk loaded the bases. Bruder knocked a one-out double to left field that allowed all three base runners to score, making the score 8-0 with the Gators firmly cemented in the lead. Junior Brittany Handy (Gainesville, Fla.) made her first plate appearance of the season and took first on balls. With two on and two-outs, Kristen Adkins put Florida in double-digits for the first time in the series with a three-run home run to left that ricochet off the scoreboard.

 

Longwood scored its only runs in the fifth off one hit and three Gator errors. Both runs for the Lancers were unearned.

 

The Gators return to Southeastern Conference action on Wednesday, March 26 with a doubleheader against South Carolina starting at 3 p.m. The first game of the doubleheader will be televised live on Sun Sports. The first 250 fans in the gate will receive a set of trading cards featuring the Gator sophomores.

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