Friday February 6, 2009No. 1 Florida Opens Season with 3-0 Win Over Baylor
The No. 1/1 University of Florida softball team opened the 2009 season with a 3-0 win over Baylor at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium on Friday night. Senior pitcher Stacey Nelson (Los Alamitos, Calif.) pitched a four-hit, complete-game shutout to earn her first win of the season and sophomore right fielder Kelsey Bruder (Corona, Calif.) hit the Gators first home run of the season.
It was the first-ever win for Florida (1-0, 0-0 SEC) over the Baylor Bears (0-1, 0-0 Big 12), who were previously 5-0 against the Gators. The Orange and Blue are now 8-0 opening the season at home.
The Gators got on the board first in the bottom of the second inning when sophomore designated hitter Tiffany DeFelice (Coral Springs, Fla.) lined a single into right field that set up runners on first and third with no outs. Junior left fielder Francesca Enea (Woodland Hills, Calif.), who got on base via a walk, scored on a passed ball to tally Florida’s first run of the 2009 season.
After a scoreless top of the third inning, senior catcher Kristina Hilberth (Dunedin, Fla.) led off with a single for the Gators. Hilberth stole second, advanced to third on an error by catcher Jordan Vannatta, and scored on a passed ball to give Florida a 2-0 lead after three innings.
Baylor threatened in the top of the fourth inning when Alex Colyer and Courtney Oberg led off with back-to-back singles. Both runners advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Tiffany Wesley, but Nelson got out of the jam and left both runners stranded.
Bruder added another run for Florida when she smacked a two-out, solo home run in the bottom of the fourth inning. It was Bruder’s second career home run.
Nelson struck out the first two Bears in the top of the sixth, but back-to-back singles put runners on first and second. Nelson then worked the count and struck out the side to end Baylor’s threat.
With one out in the top of the seventh, Nelson recorded her eighth strikeout of the game, catching pinch hitter Sydney Wilson swinging. After Nelson allowed first walk of the game, sophomore shortstop Megan Bush (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) preserved the Gator shutout by nabbing a line drive to end the game.
“Obviously, it’s good to be 1-0 and to get the first win under our belt, head coach Tim Walton said. “I didn’t think we were sharp by any means but I thought we played well enough to win. I give their team a lot of credit, they have a great ball club and [Baylor’s right fielder Kayce Walker] is going to be a phenomenal rising freshman.”
“A home run is always kind of a momentum gain for the team so I think it kind of helped out a little bit,” Bruder said of her fourth-inning bomb.
Nelson finished the game allowing six hits and one walk and striking out eight. Bruder led the offense with two hits and the only RBI of the game.
Whitney Canion allowed only four hits for Baylor in six innings of work, but several passed balls and a home run were enough for the Gators with Nelson on the mound.
The two teams will meet again on Saturday at 1 p.m. and conclude the three-game series on Sunday at noon. The Gators will hit the road on Wednesday for a 5 p.m. first pitch at Jacksonville.