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Wednesday March 26, 2008Softball Shuts Out South Carolina, 6-0 and 1-0

Gainesville, FL

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 pitcherís 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 Gatorsí, second hit of the game out of the park in centerfield for the 1-0 win. The home run was Gardinerís 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 seven innings.


Floridaís 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 Gamecockís 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.). Austin scored 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. Saturdayís 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. Sundayís series finale begins at 1 p.m. The first 250 fans will receive trading cards featuring the Gator juniors

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