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Wednesday June 4, 2008Gator Softball Earns Numerous Honors From Easton

Gainesville, FL

Five Gators garnered All-America honors, while Florida was named an Easton Team of the Year in the Easton bat company post-season awards released today.


Florida's five Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-Americans were each named to the Easton All-America first team.

Junior pitcher Stacey Nelson (Los Alamitos, Calif.) finished the 2008 campaign with a 47-5 record and a 0.75 ERA with five saves. Each of her losses this season was by only one run, three being 1-0 losees. This season she has set Florida single season records for wins (47), starts (49), complete games (43), strikeouts (363), innings pitcher (352.1), appearances (59), win percentage (.904) and ERA (0.75). She is the career record holder for wins (95), saves (15), complete games (99), shutouts (38), innings pitched (856.1) and strikeouts (759). Nelson is also sharp defensively. She recorded 107 assists on the season and is the only pitcher to rank in the top 15 for career assists. In addition to her All-America awards Nelson was named a first-team CoSIDA Academic All-American, Southeastern Conference Pitcher of the Year, First-team All-SEC, SEC All-Defensive team, SEC Tournament MVP and was named to the WCWS All-Tournament team. Nelson is the first player in school history to earn both All-America and Academic All-America honors in the same season.

Junior Ali Gardiner (Waccabuc, N.Y.) finished the season as Floridaís leading hitter with a .407 batting average, a .616 slugging percentage and a .508 on base percentage. The Florida first baseman has reached base in all but five games this season and was only held hitless in 14 games. Gardiner's 88 hits on the season tied the Florida single season record. She led the team with 18 doubles and 42 walks. She went on a season-long 12-game hit streak from April 20 to May 10 and finished the season on an eight-game hit streak. Her .407 average and her .508 on base percentage this season are the best single season clips in school history. In the field, she led the team with a school-record 529 putouts on the season and has a .989 fielding percentage with only six error on the season. She was a part of 21 of Floridaís 24 double plays this year. Gardiner had the second-best batting average of any player in the Women's College World Series with a .438 batting average over the five games. In addition to her All-America honors Gardiner was named first-team All-SEC, SEC All-Defensive team and the SEC All-Tournament team.

Aja Paculba (Wildomar, Calif.), a second baseman, is the first freshman in school history to earn All-America honors. She is Floridaís third-leading hitter with a .336 batting average. She is second on the team and in school history with 61 runs scored on the season. She reached base in all but 11 games this season. At second she has a .969 fielding percentage with 135 putouts and 147 assists, while helping to turn 16 double plays. Paculba ranks in the top 10 of almost every Florida single season hitting record lists. This season, in addition to being named an All-American by two difference organizations, Paculba was named second-team All-SEC, SEC All-Freshman team and SEC All-Defensive team.

Sophomore Francesca Enea (Woodland Hills, Calif.) tied the Florida single season record for home runs as she hit her 16th and 17th on the season in the win over Texas A&M in the Women's College World Series. After suffering an ACL tear last season, Enea emerged as one of Floridaís top power hitters in 2008. She led the team with a school record 64 RBI on the year. She  also set the school single season record for sacrifice flies with six on the year. She leads the team with 18 game-winning RBI. She finished the season hitting .336 with a .614 slugging percentage and a .398 on base percentage.

Junior Kim Waleszonia (Fontana, Calif.), is Floridaís career record holder for batting average, runs, triples and stolen bases. She tied her own record for stolen bases in a season and came up just one short from tying her record of 88 hits, as she tallied 87 in 2008. Thirty-five of her 87 hits on the season were bunt singles. She set a school record for runs in a season, as she scored 62 runs this year. She finished second on the team with a .349 batting average and led the team with five triples.

This marks the second consecutive year Florida has been named one of Easton's Teams of the Year. The Gators made their first-ever Women's College World Series trip and finished the season with a 70-5 record, setting an NCAA record for most wins in a season. The 2008 Gators rewrote the single season record books, breaking nearly every positive record in hitting, pitching and fielding categories.


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