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Sunday February 15, 2009Softball Wins 2009 Lipton Invitational in 11-1 Rout of Georgia Tech

Gainesville, Fla.

Junior Corrie Brooks (Christmas, Fla.) knocked in a career-high four RBI as No. 2/2 University of Florida (8-1, 0-0 SEC) captured the 2009 Lipton Softball Invitational championship Sunday afternoon at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium, defeating Georgia Tech (6-2, 0-0 ACC), 11-1, in six innings. The Gators were a perfect 5-0 on the weekend, outscoring their opponents by a score of 56-1.


“We had some good teams here,” Head coach Tim Walton said. “Georgia Tech obviously is a great team and was very impressive. We were able to come out here on Sunday, do some good things and win the championship.”


Brooks was the offensive catalyst for the Orange and Blue, collecting two hits in four at bats, along with knocking in four and scoring twice. Sophomore Aja Paculba (Wildomar, Calif.), senior Ali Gardiner (Waccabuc, N.Y.) and junior Francesca Enea (Woodland Hills, Calif.) also contributed to the scoring with two RBI each. Gators defeated all five opponents in the tournament by eight or more runs.


Defensively, All-American senior Stacey Nelson (Los Alamitos, Calif.) picked up the win for the home team, improving to 4-1 on the season. The right-hander gave up just one earned run, the first on the season, on one hit over four innings. Sophomore Stephanie Brombacher (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) pitched two hitless innings to close out the game. Jessica Coan suffered the loss for the Yellow Jackets, in her first outing of the season.


The Gators wasted no time getting started by scoring a first-inning run in their fifth straight game. Paculba began the game by drawing a walk on a full count. With one down in the frame, Gardiner shot a line-drive double that nailed off the left field wall to knocked in Paculba and gave the Gators a lead they would never surrender.


In the second inning, the Gators added to their another five runs. Brooks got the Gators going with a single through the left corner of the infield. With one on and one out, sophomore Megan Bush (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) sacrificed herself with a bunt that landed Brooks on second. Paculba then sent gave the Gators a 3-0 lead when the second baseman rocked a two-out, two-run home run over the left-field fence.


Senior Kim Waleszonia (Fontana, Calif.) gave her team another base runner the hard way when she was plunked in the back by a pitch. Already with a double to left, Gardiner switched direction and doubled to right for her second RBI double of the day, putting the Gators up by four. Enea  then stepped up to the plate and cranked a first-pitch fastball over the wall in left to give the Orange and Blue a 6-0 advantage.


Florida tacked on yet another run in the bottom of the third. With two outs, Bush doubled on a blooper to shallow left field. Senior Kristina Hilberth (Dunedin, Fla.) shot a sharp-hit single to center. As Bush slid into home for a play at the plate, the Yellow Jackets’ catcher was called for interference, awarding Bush the run.


The Gators’ flair for the dramatic ended the tournament in the bottom of the sixth with one long drive of the ball. After Gardiner and Enea walked and sophomore Kelsey Bruder (Corona, Calif.) singled down the right-field line to load the bases, Brooks belted her first career grand slam past the trees in dead center to end the game with the final score of 11-0.  The grand slam marked the third straight game a Gator belted one with bases loaded as Enea recorded one in each of the two invitational games on Saturday afternoon.


The lone run for the Yellow Jackets came in the fourth inning when pinch runner Kelly Eppinger scored on a Tiffany Johnson fielder’s choice. The earned run was the first of the season allowed by the Gator defense.


The Gators head to Palm Springs , Calif., for the Cathedral City Classic to play their first ranked opponents of the season.  On Thursday, Feb. 19, Florida will take on No. 15/14 Fresno State at 6:30 p.m. (ET) and defending-national champions No. 3/6 Arizona State at 11:30 p.m. (ET).

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