Saturday March 7, 2009No. 2 Softball Open SEC Play With Two Wins over South Carolina
No. 2/2 University of Florida downed South Carolina in a doubleheader, 4-2 (8) and 3-1, on Saturday at Beckham Field in Columbia, S.C., as the two teams opened the Southeastern Conference schedule. Led by sophomore Kelsey Bruder (Corona, Calif.), who hit two home runs and senior Kristina Hilberth (Dunedin, Fla.), who went 3-for-5 with an RBI, the Gators (21-2, 2-0 SEC) tallied 18 hits in the wins.
In the first game, the Gators won in dramatic fashion, topping the Gamecocks in eight innings as Bruder recorded the game-winning, two-run home run. Senior Stacey Nelson (Los Alamitos, Calif.) struck out two in the bottom of the eighth to preserve the victory. The righty (10-2) tallied 10 K’s over 8.0 innings, while allowing six hits and walking only one.
The contest remained scoreless until the top of the third when the Gators recorded one run. Senior Ali Gardiner (Waccabuc, N.Y.) drew a one-out walk, which was followed by junior Francesca Enea (Woodland Hills, Calif.) singling through the left side. Sophomore Tiffany DeFelice (Coral Springs, Fla.) then hit a pop up between third and short and when it wasn’t caught, Gardiner beat the shortstop to the bag to load the bases. Junior Corrie Brooks (Christmas, Fla.) came through with a sacrifice fly to center field, her first of the season, to score Gardiner and give the Gators the one-run lead.
Florida tallied its second run with some nifty base running in the fifth. Enea walked on four pitches and freshman Lauren Heil (Cooper City, Fla.) came in to pinch run. With two outs, Brooks shot a hard-hit ball to the shortstop, who could not make a play, putting runners on the corners. With two outs, head coach Tim Walton signaled for the double steal and as the Gamecocks’ catcher threw to second, Heil came home to score.
South Carolina tied the contest later that inning. Adele Voigt recorded her second single of the night to start the inning. After a fielder’s choice and a strike out, Laura Mendes hit a two-out single through the right side, which was followed by Jill Semento’s double to center fielder to bring both runners home. Nelson got P.J. Fulmer to ground out to third to end the inning.
With the score tied in the top of the eighth, Hilberth started things off with a single chopped up the middle. Paculba bunted her teammate to second and then Bruder stepped up to the plate. With a 1-0 count, Bruder hit a bomb to left center field to tally her fifth homer of the season, giving the Gators the 4-2 lead.
Aubrey Broyles (6-2) shouldered the loss, allowing nine hits, five walks and three runs while striking out six Gators over 5.0 innings.
Sophomore Stephanie Brombacher (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) struck out seven and only walked two, while allowing four hits over 7.0 innings in the second game of the doubleheader, improving to 11-0.
Bruder started the second game just the way she ended the first, this time with a solo shot to center field. The right fielder launched four homers in the last five games.
The Gators added two more in the top of the fourth as DeFelice reached first on a single and senior Danyell Hines (Bryan, Texas) came in to pinch run. Hines moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Brooks. With two outs, freshman Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) nailed a double to deep center field to score Hines. The second run came when Hilberth drove Moultrie in on a single to the shortstop.
The Gamecocks tallied one run in their last at bat. With no outs and a runner on first, Evan Childs knocked a double to center field to score pinch runner Kaitlin Westfall. Brombacher rung up the final three on straight K’s to seal the win.
Krystle Robinson (1-2) took South Carolina’s second loss, allowing six hits and four runs over 4.0 innings.
Florida concludes the three-game series with South Carolina on Sunday, March 8 at 1 p.m. (ET) at Beckham Field.