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Thursday May 8, 2008Softball Advances to SEC Tournament Semifinal With Win Over Ole Miss

Baton Rouge, LA

One swing of the bat from sophomore Francesca Enea (Woodland Hills, Calif.) in the sixth inning would be all it would take for the No. 1 Florida Softball team (60-2) to advance to the Southeastern Conference Tournament semifinals, as the Gators defeated Ole Miss (26-28), 1-0.

 

The two teams were tied 0-0 with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning, when Enea took a 1-1 count out of the park just grazing the fence in center field for the 1-0 Gator lead. The home run was Enea’s 14th of the season.

 

The Florida defense took care of business in the top of the seventh. Amber Tramp was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. Junior reliever Stacey Nelson (Los Alamitos, Calif.) struck out the following batter and forced Michelle May to line into an unassisted double play to junior Ali Gardiner (Waccabuc, N.Y.) to end the game.

 

Freshman Stephanie Brombacher (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) pitched six innings, giving up only two hits and allowing only three runners on base to improve to 19-0 on the season. She struck out three Rebel batters. Nelson pitched the final inning to earn her fifth save of the year. Becky Nye took the loss for Ole Miss to end her season with a 12-11 record.

 

Florida got the first hits of the game as Gardiner and Enea both lifted two-out hits in the bottom of the first. Gardiner dropped a base hit in right field, right next to the right foul line. Enea fouled off five pitches on a 1-2 count before ripping a base hit up the middle. Alise Doubt made a great diving catch for Ole Miss in left field to put out Bush and end the inning.

 

The Gators added a third two-out hit in the bottom of the second as junior Kristina Hilberth (Dunedin, Fla.) slapped a base hit through the left side.

 

Ole Miss got its first runner on base in the top of the third as Brombacher walked Lauren Rowe to lead off the inning. Rowe stole second, but did not get any further as the Gator defense retired the next three batters.

 

Florida added a hit in the bottom of the fourth. With one out, freshman Megan Bush (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) knocked a base hit through the left side, giving the Gators their best chance of the day to plate a run. Junior Danyell Hines (Bryan, Texas) came in to pinch run for her, but was caught stealing for the second out of the inning.

 

The Rebels broke up Brombacher’s no hitter with one out in the top of the fifth as May hit a deep infield single and just beat out Bush’s throw to first.

 

Hilberth earned her second hit of the day as she dropped a bunt right in front of the pitcher’s circle and beat out the throw to first with one out. She wouldn’t get any further though as the next two batters were put out on a strikeout and a ground out to end the inning.

 

Doubt hit the first pitch offered her by Brombacher to left field for the Rebels second hit of the game. The Gators retired Doubt advancing to third on a fielder’s choice play for Lauren Grill’s at bat. Grill moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Alyssa McGovern for the second out of the inning. The threat was ended as Lisa Conchos popped up to Hilberth in foul territory.

 

Florida advances to the semifinals to face fourth-seeded Tennessee (47-13), who defeated fifth-seeded Georgia (43-22), 5-2 in the first game of the tournament. Friday night’s first pitch is set for 6 p.m. ET. The game will air live on WRUF AM 850 in Gainesville and on the web at www.WRUF.com and www.GatorZone.com. Live video and live stats are available on LSU’s website at www.LSUSports.net.

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