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Sunday March 1, 2009No. 2 Softball Wins Cox Invitational, Capping it off with 9-1 Win over USF

Gainesville, Fla.

No. 2/2 University of Florida went 6-0 in the Cox Invitational, earning the round-robin tournament title.  The Gators (19-2, 0-0 SEC) routed USF, 9-1, in five innings, in the finale on Sunday afternoon at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. 


Sophomore Megan Bush (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) led the charge, collecting four RBI on a 2-for-3 performance.  Junior Francesca Enea (Woodland Hills, Calif.) also tallied two hits while sophomore Aja Paculba (Wildomar, Calif.) registered two RBI. 


Sophomore Stephanie Brombacher (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) tallied the win, ringing up five, while allowing only three hits and no walks over 5.0 innings.  The righty moves to 10-0 on the season and improves her UF career record to 30-0. 


USF scored first, tallying their lone run in the bottom of the first on a one-out sacrifice fly by Ashley Bullion.  With bases loaded, Brombacher got out of the jam by catching a line drive headed right back at her.    


In the top of the second, the Gators strung together five hits to tally four runs and take the lead.  Enea started things off with a single to second base.  Sophomore Tiffany DeFelice (Coral Springs, Fla.) walked and junior Corrie Brooks (Christmas, Fla.) singled through the left side to load the bases.  Bush came through with a two-run single up the middle, scoring Enea and DeFelice.  With one out, senior Kristina Hilberth (Dunedin, Fla.) chopped one through the right side, scoring Brooks.  Paculba then singled to right to score Bush and put UF up 4-1.


The Gators tallied two more runs to their total in the third.  With bases loaded, Hilberth slapped the ball just fair down the first-base line.  An offline throw by USF first baseman Bullion forced catcher Cat Olnick in the air and senior Brooke Johnson (Lakeland, Fla.) slid in for the score.  Paculba recorded her second RBI of the game on a grounder to third as Brooks came in to make it a 6-1 game.


Three more runs in the top of the fourth sealed the victory for Florida.  A single, a fielder’s choice and two errors found senior Le-Net Franklin (Belton, Texas), who was pinch running after Enea singled, scoring while Johnson stood at third and Brooks at second.  Bush doubled to right center driving in the two Gators left on base and recording her 17th and 18th RBI of the season.


Brittany Bowles took the loss for the Bulls (12-8, 0-0 BIG EAST), falling to 2-2 on the year.  She allowed five hits and four earned runs, walked three and struck out two over 1.2 innings.  Bree Spence allowed the other five Gators hits, walked one and struck out one in her 1.2 innings, while Candance Howell struck out two of the five batters she faced at the end of the game.


The Gators outscored opponents, 50-12, in their six Cox Invitational wins.  Enea led the way among all Gators who played in every game, going 11-for-19 (.579) with two homers and seven RBI.  DeFelice and senior Kim Waleszonia (Fontana, Calif.) each collected five hits in their four games played.  Waleszonia broke Florida’s career hit record (261) in UF’s opener against Pacific, while head coach Tim Walton recorded his 300th career win in the same game.  Bush put together a .538 average with seven hits, three doubles and eight RBI, while Gardiner was .474 on nine hits, four doubles and five RBI.  Sophomore Kelsey Bruder (Corona, Calif.) recorded three long balls and a team-high 11 RBI over the six games.


Senior Stacey Nelson (Los Alamitos, Calif.) did not allow an unearned run in her 17.0 innings while striking out 25 and walking only one in four appearances.  Brombacher struck out 24 and walked four in her 19.0 innings.


Florida opens Southeastern Conference play on March 7-8 when the Gators travel to South Carolina to take on the Gamecocks in a three-game series, starting with a doubleheader at 1 p.m. on Saturday.  UF holds the all-time series advantage, 24-19.

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