Sunday March 8, 2009No. 2 Softball Sweeps South Carolina in Weekend Series
No. 2/2 University of Florida finished off South Carolina, 6-0, in the finale of the opening Southeastern Conference series of the season. Led by senior Ali Gardiner (Waccabuc, N.Y.), who went 2-for-4 with two RBI, the Gators (22-2, 3-0 SEC) outhit the Gamecocks (12-5, 0-3 SEC), 8-5.
Senior Stacey Nelson (Los Alamitos, Calif.) (11-2) tallied the win while striking out seven and walking none in 7.0 innings. She allowed only two extra-base hits, both doubles, and did not give one up until the fifth. Audrey Broyles (6-3) shouldered the loss, striking out one and giving up six hits over two innings.
It took no time at all for the Gators to tally a run as number-two hitter sophomore Kelsey Bruder (Corona, Calif.) tallied her third home run of the series as she nailed a bomb over the right field fence for her seventh of the season and five in the last six games.
Florida kept it going in the second, scoring four runs with two outs. Sophomore Megan Bush (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) tallied her first hit of the day with a single to center field. With two down, senior Kristina Hilberth (Dunedin, Fla.) hit a single through the right side to put runners on first and second. Sophomore Aja Pacubla (Wildomar, Calif.) nailed a single to right field, which was mishandled by the fielder, scoring both runners, while the second baseman used her speed to end on third. Bruder was hit by a pitch and swiped second to advance into scoring position. One swing by Gardiner and the Gators tallied two more as the first baseman sailed one to right field to score Paculba and Bruder and give the Gators a 5-0 advantage.
After a 1-2-3 inning in the field, the Gators returned to bat to face new pitcher Kelsey Goodwin. Junior Corrie Brooks (Christmas, Fla.) slammed a one-out double that just inside the left-field foul line for her third hit of the series. With runners on first and second twice, UF could not come up with any runs as Goodwin forced three ground outs.
In the top of the fifth, junior Francesca Enea (Woodland Hills, Calif.) walked to start the inning. Freshman Lauren Heil (Cooper City, Fla.) came in as a pinch runner. Sophomore Tiffany DeFelice (Coral Springs, Fla.) stepped up to the plate and gave the ball a ride, but center fielder Adele Voigt made the catch with her back at the wall. Heil stole second and advanced to third on a fielding error by the shortstop. She scored on a passed ball to give the Gators a six-run lead.
Florida recorded its 12th shutout of the season while Nelson pitched her sixth. UF has won the last 17 meeting betweens the two teams. The Gators return to action on Wednesday, March 11 to host their first conference opponent, No. 11/12 Georgia in a doubleheader, slated to begin at 4 p.m.