Saturday May 17, 2008Brooks' Home Run Helps Gators to Regional Final
The No. 1 University of Florida Softball team (64-2) advanced to the NCAA Gainesville Regional final with a 3-0 win over UCF (47-19) on Saturday afternoon. Florida’s sophomores led the way, recording each of Florida’s three RBI on the day.
Florida took the lead in the top of the third. Sophomore Corrie Brooks (Christmas, Fla.) hit a solo home run over the fence in left field. The home run that gave the Gators the 1-0 lead was Brooks’ third of the season and second in as many games.
The Gators took a 3-0 lead in the top of the sixth. Junior Kim Waleszonia (Fontana, Calif.) led off the inning with a bunt single. She advanced to second on a wild pitch from UCF pitcher Allison Kime. A sacrifice bunt by freshman Aja Paculba (Wildomar, Calif.) moved Waleszonia to third. Junior Ali Gardiner (Waccabuc, N.Y.) drew a walk on a 3-1 count to put Gators on the corners. Junior Le-Net Franklin (Belton, Texas) came in to pinch for Gardiner and stole second for her seventh stolen base of the season. Sophomore Francesca Enea (Woodland Hills, Calif.) took the team led in RBI with her 56th and 57th of the season as she knocked in both Waleszonia and Franklin for the 3-0 lead.
Junior Stacey Nelson (Los Alamitos, Calif.) improved to 42-2 on the season. The shut out was 15th of the season. She struck out five batters while scattering five hits and did not allow a walk. Kime pitched six innings in the loss. She struck out four Gator batters, walked two and gave up four hits. Ashleigh Cole pitched the final inning for UCF.
UCF got the first hit of the game as lead off batter Tiffany Lane singled deep on the left side of the infield. The Gator defense would take care of the next three batters to end the inning.
Florida got its first runner on base in the top of the second as Enea led off the inning with a base hit to right. She was thrown out at second as freshman Tiffany DeFelice (Coral Springs, Fla.) reached on a fielder’s choice. The next two Gators grounded out to end the inning.
UCF added another runner in the second as Lexi Gresham was hit by a Nelson pitch, but she would not advance further as a Nelson strikeout and a ground out to Nelson ended the threat.
The bottom of the third brought another UCF hit and a Gator error, as the Knights threatened to score. Lead off batter Abby McClain reached on a Gator error. With one out, Marquita Council singled to left. Breanne Javier reached on a fielder’s choice as Nelson connected with Brooks at third for the second out of the inning. Hillary Barrow lined out to Paculba at second to stymie the Knights scoring chances.
Neither team added a hit to their total until the UCF half of the fifth when McClain singled to left with one out. Lane followed with another base hit to put runners at first and second. Nelson connected with Brooks again on a fielder’s choice play for the second out of the inning. A Javier ground out to Paculba ended the inning.
The Gator defense took care of business in the final two innings, sitting the UCF batters d own in order.
Florida will face the winner of tonight’s 6 p.m. game in the championship game tomorrow at 1 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on WRUF AM 850 in Gainesville and on the web at www.WRUF.com and www.GatorZone.com. Live video is available free for all the games in the Gainesville Regional. Stayed tuned to Tournament Central on GatorZone.com for all the latest information as well as recaps, notes and quotes from all the games.