Saturday February 14, 2009Softball's Francesca Enea Hits Second Grand Slam of the Day in Another 13-0 Victory
Junior Francesca Enea (Woodland Hills, Calif.) hit her second grand slam of the day and finished with a career-high-tying five RBI as No. 2/2 University of Florida (7-1, 0-0 SEC) defeated South Alabama (2-6, 0-0 Sun Belt), 13-0, in five innings Saturday afternoon at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. The win improved the Gators’ record to 4-0 in round-robin play as hosts of the 2009 Lipton Softball Invitational.
Coming off her first no-hitter, sophomore Stephanie Brombacher (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) came close to pitching perfection once again. The right-handed hurler tossed five innings of one-hit ball, striking out seven batters without allowing a walk. Brombacher improved to 4-0 on the year while Jaguars’ pitcher Beth Pilgrim fell to 2-3 on the season.
Offensively, Enea led the charge for the powerful Gators, going 2-for-4 with the grand slam, five RBI and two runs. Senior Ali Gardiner (Waccabuc, N.Y.) had a spectacular day as well, knocking out three hits in four at bats while collecting three RBI and three runs. Sophomore Kelsey Bruder (Corona, Calif.) and junior Corrie Brooks (Christmas, Fla.) also knocked in two for the Orange and Blue. Florida has now outscored its opponents, 56-0, in the five games since losing their only game of the season on Feb. 8.
The Gators scored in the first inning for their fourth straight game, opening up with two runs. Senior Kim Waleszonia (Fontana, Calif.) knocked a perfect bunt down the third-base line to give the Gators their first base runner of the game. Gardiner then singled down the same line to put Waleszonia in scoring position. Enea reached on a fielder’s choice when Waleszonia was forced out at third. Bruder drove in the first run of the game when the right fielder singled up the middle to knock in Gardiner. After Bruder collected her second theft of the season by swiping second, Brooks finished up the scoring in the first by singling through the left side of the infield. The single drove Enea in to make the score 2-0.
Florida added to their lead in the third soon after Waleszonia led off with her third triple in two days. Gardiner duplicated the feat and knocked in Waleszonia with a triple of her own to center field. The back-to-back triples and the extra run gave the Gators a 3-0 lead.
The Orange and Blue broke the game open in the in the fourth with a six-run effort. Sophomore Megan Bush (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) took a one-out walk and senior Le-Net Franklin (Belton, Texas) came in to pinch run. After senior Kristina Hilberth (Dunedin, Fla.) drew another walk and the two runners stole second and third to put two Gators in scoring position, sophomore Aja Paculba (Wildomar, Calif.) took the team’s third straight walk to load the bases. Freshman Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) was then hit by a pitch to bring Bush in and give the Gators a four-run lead. The bases were full again as Gardiner reached on a fielder’s choice that saw Hilberth cross home. With the first two runs of the inning coming off zero hits, Enea stepped up to the plate and whipped a cutting line drive around the foul pole in left to give the left fielder her second grand slam of the season and fourth of her career. The sharp-hit slam made Enea the only player in school history to ever to hit two grand slams in the same day and gave the Orange and Blue strangling 9-0 advantage.
Florida poured on an additional four runs in the top of the fifth frame to put the game out of reach. Franklin jump-started the team with her only at bat of the day, singling to left. Hilberth and Paculba followed immediately with singles of their own to load the bases, and Moultrie reached base safely for her second straight at bat on a fielder’s choice in which Franklin was forced out at home. Gardiner picked up her third and final RBI of the day with a single to right, causing Hilberth to score. Enea continued to add to her RBI total when the junior blooped a single to right-center field, allowing Paculba to score. Bruder watched Moultrie cross the plate for the second time in the game when the sophomore right fielder reached first on a nasty-hop past shortstop. The game’s final run of the game came on a fielder’s choice by Brooks, letting Gardiner cross the plate to make it the second 13-0 rout of the day.
The nation’s second-ranked softball team returns to action tomorrow afternoon at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium for the final game of the Lipton Invitational. Florida goes for the round-robin sweep at 2:30 p.m. when it takes Georgia Tech.