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Wednesday March 11, 2009No. 1 Softball Sweeps No. 8/7 Georgia in Doubleheader, Scoring 19 Total Runs

Gainesville, Fla.

The No. 1/1 University of Florida softball team (24-2, 5-0 SEC) used offensive power and dominant pitching to shut out and sweep the No. 8/7 Georgia Bulldogs (15-4, 0-2 SEC), 15-0 and 4-0, in a midweek doubleheader at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.  


Freshman Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) and sophomore Megan Bush (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) both went 3-for-5, while both senior Stacy Nelson (Los Alamitos, Calif.) and sophomore Stephanie Brombacher (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) gave up one hit apiece in each of their starts.  The Gators combined for 10 extra-base hits and 17 RBI in the two-game series.   


In game one, the Gators scored early and often and Nelson (12-2) pitched a one-hit shutout as the Gators scored 15 runs on 10 hits; the most runs ever given up by a Georgia softball team.  


Starting pitcher Christina Hamilton put the Bulldogs in a hole when she walked the first three batters she faced.  After Hamilton was replaced by righty Sarah McCloud, the dubious start continued for the Bulldogs as junior Frencesca Enea (Woodland Hills, Calif.) slapped a double down the left field line to drive in two runs.  After sophomore Tiffany DeFelice (Coral Springs, Fla.) walked to reload the bases, junior Corrie Brooks (Christmas, Fla.) smashed a 2-1 pitch over the left field fence for her second grand slam of the year, to make the score 6-0. 


With still only one out, Moultrie advanced into scoring position by singling up the middle and moving to second on a senior Kristina Hilberth (Dunedin, Fla.) ground out to first.  Sophomore Aja Paculba (Wildomar, Calif.) batted around and finished off the scoring when she tripled of the wall to right, scoring Moultrie. 


The bottom of the second inning would be more of the same for the Gators, but this time they would score all four of their runs with two out.  DeFelice and Brooks started things off by drawing back-to-back two-out walks.  Bush then drove in DeFelice and moved Brooks to third on a line-drive single to right.   With runners on the corners, Moultrie crushed a line drive, which almost left the yard, hitting the right field fence for an RBI double.  Still with two outs, Hilberth hit a high chopper that squeaked through the infield scoring both Bush and speedy Moultrie from second for her seventh and eighth RBI of the year.


After Nelson retired the Georgia side one-two-three in the top of the third, the Gator bats were ready for more.  Sophomore Kelsey Bruder (Corona, Calif.) lead off the inning with a double off the center field fence and then moved to third on a passed ball.  Senior Ali Gardiner (Waccabuc, N.Y.) put the ball in play and Bruder scored on an error by the Georgia shortstop.  After a DeFelice walk,  Brooks hit a sacrifice fly to right, moving Gardiner to third.  Then Bush walked to load the bases and the Gators continued to score with two outs when Moultrie connected for her second double of the game; this one a bloop to shallow right which scored both Gardiner and DeFelice. 


Paculba finished off the scoring for the Gators in the first game with a solo, lead-off home run in bottom of fourth.  Nelson finished the game with four strikeouts and only one walk.  Georgia had 12 walks in the game, which is the most ever given up by a Bulldog pitching staff.


In game two, Bruder started the Gator bats up with her sixth home run in eight games.  The solo shot put the Gators up 1-0 with one out in the bottom of the first.  In the second, Bush accounted for the only Gator run with another lead-off solo shot of her own.


After both teams put up zeros in the third inning Brooks and Bush had back-to-back singles to left field to leadoff the Gator half of the fourth.   Moultrie then sacrificed both runners over and Hilberth drove in Brooks for her third RBI of the day on yet another line-drive single to left field.  With runners on the corners and Enea at the plate, sophomore Ami Austin (Ormond Beach, Fla.), who was pinch running for Bush, stole home to make the score 4-0 when Hilberth was tagged out on a double-steal attempt.


In the circle, Brombacher (12-0) had a perfect game going into the sixth inning.   With one out, the righty gave up a double to Georgia second baseman Ashley Pauly.  Despite the setback, Brombacher finished the game strong totaling eight strikeouts and only one hit.   


The Gators continue Southeastern Conference play when they travel to Oxford, Miss., to take on the Ole Miss Rebels in a three-game series March 14 and 15.  Game one of the doubleheader on Saturday will begin at 2 p.m. (ET).      


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