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Freshman Stephanie Brombacher struck out 14 in two appearances versus Jacksonville

Tuesday April 22, 2008Softball Earns Perfect Record Over Instate Teams in Regular Season Play

Gainesville, FL

Freshman Stephanie Brombacher struck out 14 in two appearances versus Jacksonville

Thanks in part to a career-high nine strikeouts by freshman Stephanie Brombacher (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) in game one and three two-out RBI by sophomore Francesca Enea (Woodland Hills, Calif.) in game two, the No. 3 Florida softball team improved to 53-2 on the season with a doubleheader sweep of Jacksonville (21-39), 2-0 and 5-0, Tuesday evening.


The Gators are now 17-0 against in-state opponents the last two years. Their last loss to an instate opponent was May 21, 2006 against Florida Atlantic.


Game one saw a pitcher’s duel between Brombacher and Ashley Iveson, but it was ultimately the freshmen righty from Florida that stole the show. Brombacher struck out a career-high nine batters and improved to a perfect 17-0 on the season. After giving up two hits in the first three at bats, Brombacher cruised through the game, scattering just two more hits the rest of the way. Iveson was impressive in her own right, falling to 3-13 despite sprinkling five hits over six innings.


Five different Gator hitters collected hits in the game.  Freshman Megan Bush (Anaheim Hills, Calif.)reached base in all three plate appearances, going 1-for-1 with two walks and an RBI. Even though she went hitless, freshman Kristine Priebe (Moorpark, Calif.) made her first career start at catcher, knocking in the game’s only other RBI.  Senior Mary Ratliff (Mt. Sterling, Ky.) went 1-for-3 with a run scored and pinch-running junior Danyell Hines (Bryan, Texas) scored the game’s other run.  Junior Kim Waleszonia (Fontana, Calif.) and junior Ali Gardiner (Waccabuc, N.Y.) had the other UF hits.


The game’s only runs came in the bottom of the fourth when the Orange and Blue scored two runs off three hits and two walks. Gardiner began the inning with a single to left field. After Hines took over for Gardiner on first, Ratliff singled to put runners on first and second with one out. Soon after freshman Tiffany DeFelice (Coral Springs, Fla.) walked to load the bases, Bush walked to bring in Hines to give the Gators their first run of the contest. Priebe then stepped up to the plate with the bases still loaded and launched a high fly ball to left, allowing Ratliff to tag from third to give game one its final score.


Much like the first game, game two saw a University of Florida pitcher dominate inside the circle. Freshman Kelsey Bruder (Corona, Calif.) made her first career start for the Gators and became the third pitcher this season for UF to earn a win in her first career start. Bruder worked a career-high 5.1 innings and tied a career-high with three strikeouts, improving to 2-0 on the season. Shannon Jensen was solid, but fell to 11-16 on the year. Brombacher relieved Bruder in the sixth and collected her third save is as many relief appearances this season, securing the win for the Gators. Making her second appearance of the day, the freshmen struck-out all five batters she faced in relief.


Florida wasted no time getting started on the offensive side of the ball in game two with a two-run first inning. Freshman Aja Paculba (Wildomar, Calif.) roped a single to center with one out to give the Gators their first base runner of the game. She would be forced out at second after Gardiner reached first on a fielder’s choice. With Gardiner on first and two outs, Enea connected on her 12th home run of the year just to the right of the scoreboard in center.


An insurance run in the third would aid the Gators as the Orange and Blue increased to a 3-0 lead.  Waleszonia sliced a one-out bunt down the third-base line for a single and moved forward after Paculba reached first on a fielder’s choice. Gardiner would reach first on a fielder’s choice as well, with Waleszonia being thrown out at third. With two gone and a runner on second and third, Enea came through in the clutch once again and collected her third RBI of the game by singling to center and knocking in Paculba.


The Gators sealed the game with two additional runs in the bottom of the sixth to give the game its final score of 5-0. The inning began with a Bush single to right. Bruder arrived to the plate next and reached first on a Dolphin error, forwarding Bush to second. Junior Le-Net Franklin (Belton, Texas) pinch-ran for Bruder. Pinch-hitter DeFelice walked to load the bases. With Brooks up to bat, all runners advanced and Bush scored on a grounder to short. The Gators last run of the evening came on an aggressive squeeze by Waleszonia, allowing Franklin to score.


Florida will play its final regular season home games of the season this weekend as the Auburn Tigers come to Gainesville for a three-game series. Saturday’s double-header begins at 1 p.m. Senior Mary Ratliff will be recognized in a pre-game ceremony. The first 500 fans receive a free hat courtesy of Pepsi. On Sunday, the first 250 fans receive a trading card featuring Ratliff.

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