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Sunday April 6, 2008Softball Completes Sweep of Mississippi State

Gainesville, FL

The No. 3 University of Florida softball team (43-2, 15-1 SEC) finished the series sweep of No. 23 Mississippi State (32-14, 6-10 SEC) on Sunday in Starkville. The Gators used timely two-out hitting to secure the win.


Three different Gators had multiple hits in the game. Junior Ali Gardiner (Waccabuc, N.Y.), senior Mary Ratliff (Mt. Sterling, Ky.) and freshman Megan Bush (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) each went 2-for-3 and each scored a run. Bush led the way with three RBI, Gardiner hit in two and Ratliff one.


Florida took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first. With two outs, one swing from Gardiner sent the ball over the fence in center field for her fifth home run of the year.


The Gators added another run in the top of the second. Ratliff led off with an infield base hit. With two outs, Bush scored Ratliff from first with a double in the left field gap, putting Florida up 2-0.


With one out in the third, freshman Aja Paculba (Wildomar, Calif.) hit the first triple of her Gator career. She came home on a base hit by Gardiner for the 3-0 Gator lead.


The Orange and Blue extended their lead to 5-0 in their half of the fourth. With one out, junior Kristina Hilberth (Dunedin, Fla.) reached and advanced to second on an error by the Bulldog second baseman. She came home as Bush hit her sixth home run of the year for the five-run Gator lead.


Junior hurler Stacey Nelson (Los Alamitos, Calif.) threw the complete game to improve her record to 28-2 on the year. She struck out four, while scattering four hits. Mississippi State starter Kelsey Nurnberg pitched the first four innings to receive the loss to move to 15-7 on the year. Misty Flesher pitched the final three innings in relief.


Florida will not play a midweek game this week, but will return to action on Saturday to begin a three-game series with Southeastern Conference rival Georgia in Athens. Saturday’s doubleheader begins at 1 p.m. ET.

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