Sunday March 22, 2009No. 1 Softball Completes Sweep of No. 6 Tennessee
Mounting a fifth-inning comeback, the No. 1/1 University of Florida Gators (32-2, 11-0 SEC) defeated No. 6/6 Tennessee (24-6, 2-3 SEC), 4-1, on Sunday afternoon at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.
Senior Stacey Nelson (Los Alamitos, Calif.) allowed only four hits and three walks in her 17th complete game. The righty (17-2) struck out 10 Lady Vols, tallying double-digit K’s for the second straight game and fifth time this season.
Sophomore Megan Bush (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) and senior Kristina Hilberth (Dunedin, Fla.) led the way, both going 2-for-3 on the day.
The Lady Vols scored first, tallying one run in the third inning for their first of the weekend. After two quick outs, Lillian Hammond drew a walk and advanced to second with a steal. Nicole Kajitani singled through the right side to score Hammand and give Tennessee a 1-0 lead.
After Nelson retired the side on strikeouts, the Gators tied the game in the fourth. Junior Francesca Enea (Woodland Hills, Calif.) walked to start the bottom half of the inning. Senior Brooke Johnson (Lakeland, Fla.) came in to pinch run and moved to second on a single to left by Bush. Hilberth chopped one past the second baseman to load the bases for freshman Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.). The center fielder came through with a hard-hit single back to the pitcher, scoring Johnson.
Florida took the lead the next inning as sophomore Kelsey Bruder (Corona, Calif.) started the inning with a double to center. Senior Ali Gardiner (Waccabuc, N.Y.) drove in her teammate with a double of her own to give the Gators a 2-1 lead. That chased Cat Hosfield from the game as Danielle Pieroni relieved her. Enea added to the lead by driving in sophomore Ami Austin (Ormond Beach, Fla.), who was pinch running for Gardiner, on another double. Junior Corrie Brooks (Christmas, Fla.) recorded her third sacrifice fly on the season to bring Enea home, who landed on third after a fielding error by the catcher.
Tennessee threatened in the top of the seventh as it put runners on second and third. Erinn Webb led off with a double and Shelby Burchell drew a full-count walk with no outs. Pieroni grounded to shortstop Bush, who tossed to third baseman Brooks for the force out. Nelson got pinch hitter Aston Ward to fly out, but the two runners moved into scoring position on a passed ball. Nelson got out of the jam by forcing Hammond to ground out, ending the game.
Hosfield (17-5) took the loss for the Lady Vols, pitching five innings and allowing seven hits, two walks and three earned runs. She struck out seven Gators. Pieroni pitched one inning, allowed two hits, one run and one walk.
The Gators return to action to host No. 2/2 Alabama next weekend in a three-game series beginning on Saturday, March 28 with a 1 p.m. doubleheader. Sunday’s 2 p.m. game will be televised by Fox Sports.