The No. 3/4 Florida Softball
team (37-2, 9-1 SEC) shut out South
Carolina (13-15, 2-7 SEC), 6-0 and 1-0, on Wednesday
afternoon at Katie Seashole Pressly
Stadium. The Gator offense was led by junior Ali Gardiner (Waccabuc, N.Y.)
who finished the day hitting 5-for-7.
Game two ended in dramatic
fashion. The game was a pitcher’s dual with each pitcher giving up only one hit
through six innings. Gator freshman starter Stephanie Brombacher (Pembroke Pines, Fla.)
gave up her second hit of the day to seventh inning lead off batter, Cassie Gogreve. Junior Stacey
Nelson (Los Alamitos,
Calif.) came in to replace Brombacher, allowing only one runner on before striking out
the final two batters of the inning.
The game was in the hands of
the Gator offense in the bottom of the final inning. With one out, Gardiner knocked her, and the Gators’,
second hit of the game out of the park in centerfield for the 1-0 win. The home
run was Gardiner’s third of the season.
Game one saw Nelson collect
her seventh complete-game shutout of the season which set the school record for
career shutouts with 28. The record was previously held by Chelsey
Sakizzie who played for the Gators in 1997 and 1998.
Nelson struck out 11 and did not yield a walk, scattering just four hits over
Florida’s offense was solid during the first game with the
Gators collecting four multi-hit performances. The Gators were led at the plate
by Gardiner, who had three hits in four at bats. Junior Kim Waleszonia (Fontana, Calif.)
hit 2-for-4 with an RBI in the leadoff spot. Senior Mary Ratliff (Mt. Sterling, Ky.) collected a run and a RBI on a 2-for-4 performance,
while junior Kristina Hilberth (Dunedin,
Fla.) crossed the plate twice
while going 2-for-3.
The Gators got on the board
first with a three-run second inning on three hits and three Gamecock errors.
The Gators opened the inning with a leadoff single by Francesca Enea (Woodland Hills, Calif.).
She crossed the plate on a double by Ratliff. Hilberth
followed with a base hit and then advanced to second on a throwing error by Kate
Pouliot that allowed Ratliff to score, making the
score 2-0 Gators. Krystle Robinson came in to replace
Pouliot in the circle. Sophomore Corrie Brooks (Christmas, Fla.)
was hit by a Robison pitch. Waleszonia flew out to left,
but a throwing error by the Gamecock’s left fielder allowed the Gator runners
to advance to second and third. Freshman Aja Paculba (Wildomar, Calif.)
walked to load the bases. Gardiner reached on a fielding error by the South Carolina short
stop, allowing Hilberth to score for the 3-0 lead.
Florida added two insurance runs in the fifth. Ratliff
started the inning with a double to center. Junior Danyell Hines (Bryan, Texas) came in to pinch run for Ratliff. Hilberth added another hit with a single, advancing Hines
to third. Hines scored on a sacrifice fly by pinch hitting freshman Kelsey Bruder (Corona, Calif.)
Waleszonia knocked in Hilberth
with a base hit to left to put Florida
ahead 5-0. Waleszonia was
caught stealing to end the fifth inning, breaking a streak of 22 stolen bases
without getting caught. The streak dated back to last season.
The sixth inning began on a
single by Gardiner, who was replaced by pinch runner, freshmen Ami Austin (Ormond Beach, Fla.).
on a wild pitch for the final 6-0 Gator win.
This weekend brings a top-10
game to Gainesville
as the No. 3 Gators will face the No. 8 LSU Tigers in a three game series on
Saturday and Sunday. Saturday’s doubleheader begins at 1 p.m. and is Gator
Carnival Day. There will be a bounce house and a magician for the kids. The
first 500 UF students in the game receive a free T-Shirt courtesy of Gatorade.
Sunday’s series finale begins at 1 p.m. The first 250 fans will receive trading
cards featuring the Gator juniors