Saturday February 14, 2009Gators Continue to Roll, Defeating Florida Atlantic, 13-0, in Five Innings
Sophomore Kristine Priebe (Moorpark, Calif.) knocked in a career-high four RBI and junior Francesca Enea (Woodland Hills, Calif.) launched her third career grand slam as the No. 2/2 University of Florida softball team defeated Florida Atlantic, 13-0, in five innings Saturday afternoon at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium in day two of the 2009 Lipton Softball Invitational.
The Gators (6-1, 0-0 SEC) continued their offensive hot-streak, putting up 13 runs off 13 hits and recording an eight-run inning for the third time in their past four games. Florida Atlantic fell to 6-3 (0-0 Sun Belt) on the year.
The game was the fourth straight game in which the Gators’ offense put up eight or more runs on the scoreboard. Florida was led by Enea, who was a perfect 3-for-3 with the grand slam, five RBI and a run scored. Priebe was also perfect inside the batter’s box, going 2-for-2 with a home run, four RBI and a run scored.
Senior right-hander Stacey Nelson (Los Alamitos, Calif.) was overwhelming once again for Florida, improving to 3-1 on the season. The All-American pitcher gave up just two hits over five innings, striking out nine of the 18 batters she faced while only throwing 62 pitches. Amber Barton (0-2) took the loss for the Owls, giving up eight runs in 1.2 innings. The game marked the sixth time in the Gators’ first seven games in which the Orange and Blue shut out their opponent.
Sophomore Aja Paculba (Wildomar, Calif.) started off the Gators’ third game of the Lipton Invite with a full count, before sending a soaring shot over the wall in left to open up the scoring for the Gators. The home run was the first lead-off homer of the second baseman’s career and her team-leading third home run of the season.
The Gators never looked back after that, catching fire under dark skies in the second inning. After hitting a home run last night in her first-career start, Priebe started again and drew a walk to begin the frame. Once senior Danyell Hines (Bryan, Texas) came in to pinch run for Priebe, sophomore Megan Bush (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) doubled off of the top of the left field wall to plate Hines and give the game a 2-0 score. Bush advanced to second when senior Kristina Hilberth (Dunedin, Fla.) hit a single to the shortstop. With two runners on, Paculba walked to load the bases. After two quick outs, Enea rocketed a grand slam over the scoreboard in left for her second home run of the season. Florida continued to put runners on when sophomore Kelsey Bruder (Corona, Calif.) and junior Corrie Brooks (Christmas, Fla.) walked and singled, respectively. Priebe connected on her second home run to center field in two many days. The round-tripper gave the Orange and Blue a commanding 9-0 lead.
Florida finished off the game’s scoring in the bottom of the third. Hilberth set the table for the Gators, reaching first on a high chopper to third to start the inning. Paculba followed with a bouncing grounder up the middle. Senior Kim Waleszonia (Fontana, Calif.) loaded the bases with a fielder’s choice. Senior Ali Gardiner (Waccabuc, N.Y.) then lined a hard-hit ball off the shortstop to reach first, driving in Hilberth to give the Gators a 10-run lead. The hit parade continued when Enea also singled to the shortstop, allowing Paculba to cross the plate for the Gators’ 11th run of the game. Florida recorded their first sacrifice fly of the game when Bruder flied out to deep center field and Waleszonia tagged from third to cross the plate for run. The game’s final score was cemented when Priebe hit a blopper to shallow left that crept in between the third baseman and the left fielder, allowing Gardiner to run over home.