Saturday March 14, 2009No. 1 Softball Crushes Ole Miss in Doubleheader, Tallying 14 Runs
No. 1/1 University of Florida took down Ole Miss, 2-0 and 12-0, on an overcast Saturday afternoon in Oxford, Miss. Led by sophomore Kelsey Bruder (Corona, Calif.), who went 4-for-7, the Gators tallied 14 hits in the doubleheader.
Sophomore Megan Bush (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) had a good day at the plate, batting .500 (3-for-6) with a home run, a double and three RBI. Senior Ali Gardiner (Waccabuc, N.Y.) and junior Francesca Enea (Woodland Hills, Calif.) also launched home runs in the wins.
In game one, the Gators edged out the Rebels for their 15th shutout of the season. Gardiner gave UF its winning run with a solo shot in the sixth to break a scoreless tie. Senior right-hander Stacey Nelson (Los Alamitos , Calif.) recorded 10 strikeouts through seven innings, walked two and allowed five hits to earn her 13th win.
The top of the sixth looked very similar to the quarterfinals of the 2008 Southeastern Conference Tournament. With one out, Gardiner launched one over the scoreboard in right center field to give the Gators a one-run lead. Back in 2008, Enea tallied a two-out solo homer to put Florida up 1-0 over the Rebels. The Gators went on to win by that score and move on to the semifinals.
With the one-run advantage, Nelson struck out all three batters to preserve the lead in the bottom half of the sixth. The Gators added an insurance run in their last at bat. With one out, freshman Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) laid down a bunt and reached the bag when second baseman Lisa Conchos overthrew first base. Senior Kristina Hilberth (Dunedin, Fla.) then slapped one to first to move Moultrie over. Sophomore Aja Pacubla (Wildomar, Calif.) came through with a single up the middle, scoring Moultrie and giving the Gators the 2-0 lead.
The Rebels threatened in their last at bat, putting runners in scoring position with one out. Conchos swung on Nelson’s first pitch and popped out to junior third baseman Corrie Brooks (Christmas, Fla.) in foul territory. The game ended on a line drive to Gardiner, giving the Gators their 13th straight win.
In the top of the third, Hilberth extended her hitting streak to eight games, the longest of her career, when she nailed the ball to the right field fence for a double. The catcher was thrown out sliding into third as she tried to stretch her double into a triple. With two outs, Bruder then extended her hit streak to six games, singling up the middle. Gardiner reached first and moved Bruder to second on a fielding error by the second baseman, but Enea popped up to the catcher in foul ground to end the inning.
Becky Nye (7-6) shouldered the loss for the Rebels, allowing six Gator hits, one earned run and only two walks.
Sophomore Stephanie Brombacher (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) earned her 13th win in game two of the doubleheader, as the Gators put up 12 runs on the Rebels.
Florida scored first, tallying five, in the third inning. Paculba tallied her second hit of the game with a double to left center. Bruder then walked on four pitches. Both runners moved into scoring position on a wild pitch. Another wild pitch, this once bouncing before reaching the plate, scored Pacubla and moved Bruder to third. With two outs, Enea nailed a shot to dead center field for her eighth home run of the season. Brooks then drew a walk, which was followed by Bush’s long ball over the left field fence for her sixth of the season.
That chased Lindsey Perry (3-5) from the game. She was replaced by Nye, who walked Moultrie on five pitches. The center fielder was thrown out trying to take second to end the inning, but Florida came away with a five-run advantage.
The Gators added two more in the sixth, capitalizing off two Ole Miss errors. Bush started things off by drawing a walk. Freshman Lauren Heil (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) came in to pinch run and moved to third when Moultrie laid down a bunt. Moultrie ended up on second when first baseman Aly Presswood missed the throw. Heil scored when Hilberth sacrificed to center field. Freshman Alicia Sisco (Cooper City, Fla.) then recorded her first career RBI when she grounded to first base, scoring Moultrie.
Florida ended the game with five runs as Bruder led off with a single in the top of the seventh. That extended the right fielder’s hitting streak to a career-long seven games. Gardiner followed with a single of her own. Enea drew a walk to load the bases. Brooks launched a fly ball to center field to score Bruder and then Bush singled to score sophomore Ami Austin (Ormond Beach, Fla.), who was pinch running for Gardiner. Sophomore Kristine Priebe (Moorpark, Calif.) came in to pinch hit and was hit to reload the bases. Hilberth then hit a grounder to second base for an RBI as Enea tallied UF’s 10th run. Redshirt freshman Shaunice Harris (Moreno Valley, Calif.) pinch hit and drew a walk for her first RBI of the season. With two down, Bruder recorded her third hit of the game, singling through the right side to score Priebe for the Gators’ 12th run.
Brombacher forced the Rebels to go 1-2-3 in the bottom of the seventh to record her eighth shutout. The righty also moves to 33-0 in her career.
The Gators return to the Ole Miss Softball Complex on Sunday, March 15 at 2 p.m. (ET) for the conclusion of the series.