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Saturday April 26, 2008Paculba Sets Runs Record As Softball Sweeps Auburn

Gainesville, FL

The No. 2 University of Florida Softball team (55-2, 23-1 SEC) added two more wins on the season with a doubleheader sweep of Auburn (34-18, 10-13 SEC) Saturday afternoon at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. A crowd of 1,441 was on hand to watch the Gators win 3-1 and 7-2 and honor senior Mary Ratliff (Mt. Sterling, Ky.) prior to the game.


Sophomore Francesca Enea (Woodland Hills, Calif.), junior Kim Waleszonia (Fontana, Calif.) and freshman Aja Paculba (Wildomar, Calif.) led the Gator offense with 3-for-6 performances. Enea tallied four RBI on the day to lead the team. Waleszonia led the team with three runs scored. Paculba scored only one run, but that run set a new individual record for runs scored in a season.


The Gators got on the board right away in the bottom of the first of game one. Waleszonia  led off with a base hit to shallow center. Paculba followed with a base hit down the right line, just over the head of the Auburn first baseman. She moved to second on the play as the Tigers attempted to throw Waleszonia out at first. With one out, Enea drove a base hit up the middle to score Waleszonia and Paculba for the 2-0 Gator lead. Paculba’s run was her 50th of the season, setting a new Florida record for runs in a season, besting the previous record set by Jennifer Lutsi in 2000.


Auburn narrowed the Gator lead to 2-1 in the top of the fourth. Myesha Finney led off with an infield base hit. Jorja Bell drew a one-out walk. Megan Mitchell entered the game to pinch run for Bell. Finney scored on a Florida error on a fielder’s choice play as the Gators attempted to throw Mitchell out at first. A second fielder’s choice play put Kyndall White out at second and left Auburn runners at first and third. Krista Clyde was hit by a pitch to load the bases, but Starr Dorsey flew out to Waleszonia in center to end the inning and the Tiger scoring threat.


Florida took its two-run lead back in its half of the fifth. Waleszonia dropped a bunt single right in front of the plate to lead off the inning. Paculba’s sacrifice moved her to second. She came around to score on a double by junior Ali Gardiner (Waccabuc, N.Y.) for the 3-1 Gator lead. Angel Bunner replaced Lauren Schmalz in the circle for Auburn and shut down the final two Gator batters to end the inning.


Junior Stacey Nelson (Los Alamitos, Calif.) struck out eight Tiger batters, while only giving up three hits to win her 34th game of the season, tying her own school record, set last season. Schmalz took the loss for Auburn to move to 6-2 on the year.


Auburn plated the first run of game two as they scored on a hit, a walk and two Gator errors in the top of the second. Katie Colton started the inning drawing a one-out walk on a full count. She stole second and advanced to third on the errant throw. Dorsey reached on a Gator error, allowing Colton to score for the 1-0 Tiger lead. A bunt single by Cassie Trosclair put another Auburn runner on base, but the Gator defense took care of the next two batters to end the half inning down by only a run.


Florida used a seven-run, 10-batter second to take the lead. Senior Mary Ratliff (Mt. Sterling, Ky.) drew a lead off walk. She scored on a double to right center by freshman Megan Bush (Anaheim Hills, Calif.). Junior Kristina Hilberth (Dunedin, Fla.) added an infield base hit. Sophomore Corrie Brooks (Christmas, Fla.) brought Bush home with a base hit up the middle. Waleszonia’s base hit up the middle brought Hilberth home. Waleszonia and Brooks moved to second and third on the play as the Tigers attempted to get Hilberth at home. Brooks crossed the plate on a wild pitch, to put Florida up 4-1. Paculba’s infield base hit scored Waleszonia from third for a four-run Gator lead. For the second tiem in the day, Brunner came in as the Auburn reliever, this time relieving game two starter Brittany Day. Gardiner knocked a base hit to left, but Paculba was thrown out at third on the play for the second out of the inning. Enea blasted her 13th home run of the season out in left field plating the sixth and seventh Gator runs of the inning on the seventh hit of the inning.  


Auburn added one run in the top of the seventh. With one out, Trosclair singled to left. Finney followed with a base hit to left center, moving Trosclair to third and advancing to second on the throw. White’s ground out to short scored Trosclair for the final run of the game, making the score 7-2.


Gator freshman Stephanie Brombacher (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) struck out eight batters and scattered three hits through the game to improve to 18-0 on the season. Day took the loss for Auburn to move to 10-5.


The two teams will face off in the final regular season home game of the season for the Gators at 1 p.m. on Sunday. The first 250 fans at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium will receive a trading card featuring senior Mary Ratliff.

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