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Saturday February 21, 2009No. 2 Softball Falls to No. 3/7 Washington, 1-0, in Nine Innings

Palm Springs, Calif.

In another battle between No. 2 and No. 3, No. 2/2 University of Florida fell in a pitchers’ duel to No. 3/7 Washington, 1-0, in nine innings on Friday evening as the Gators ended their second day at the Cathedral City Classic in Palm Springs , Calif. 


Senior Stacey Nelson (Los Alamitos, Calif.) lost her second 1-0 game of the season as the Gators (11-2, 0-0 SEC) could not muster enough hits against Washington’s (11-0, 0-0 PAC-10) Danielle Lawrie (7-0).  Senior Kim Waleszonia (Fontana, Calif.) was the only Gator to have any success against the Canadian Olympian, earning two base hits. 


It took nine innings for Washington to score the only run of the game.  It was Kimi Pohlman, who was 0-for-2 with two strikeouts against Nelson, who came up for the Huskies, singling to centerfield to score Amanda Fleischman, who started on second due to extra-inning tournament rules.


The Gators kept it to the lone run as junior Francesca Enea (Woodland Hills, Calif.) made her second diving catch of the night to record the first out.  Late with two outs, Ashlyn Watson hit a grounder up the middle, but sophomore Aja Pacubla (Wildomar, Calif.) ranged over to make the grab and fire to junior Corrie Brooks (Christmas, Fla.), who found senior catcher Kristina Hilberth (Dunedin, Fla.) to get Pohlman at the plate.


In the bottom of the ninth with Paculba placed at second, Waleszonia recorded her second single against Lawrie, bunting for a base hit and moving Paculba to third.  Waleszonia used her speed to steal second.  With runners in scoring position, Enea grounded to the second baseman who threw home to tag Paculba out at the plate.  Lawrie ended the game by striking out Brooks on her 150th pitch.


Both teams got runners to third in the eighth inning, but both defenses came through to keep the game scoreless, throwing runners out at the plate. 


The Gators’ largest threat came in their first at bat as Paculba drew a lead off walk, her sixth base-on-balls of the tournament.  The speedster stole second and moved to third as the Huskies’ catcher threw to an empty bag and the ball headed into centerfield.  Senior Ali Gardiner (Waccabuc, N.Y.) walked to put runners on first and third.  Freshman Lauren Heil (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) came in to pinch run.  A failed double steal found Paculba picked off at third while stood Heil at second.  Enea popped out to end the inning and the Gators’ threat.


In the bottom of the third, the Gators threatened again as Waleszonia bunted her way onto first base with two outs.  Gardiner chopped the ball back up the middle, but Lawrie made a inning-ending catch, sno coning the ball for the third out.


The Gator defense was strong all night, recording five 1-2-3 innings.  Nelson struck out nine, allowed just one walk and five hits over 9.0 innings.  Lawrie struck out 12, but walked five Gators, which was equal to her season walk total coming into the game.


Florida returns to action for its final game of the Classic on Saturday, Feb. 21 when the Gators face the UNLV Rebels at 1:30 p.m. (ET). 

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