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Paculba went 2-for-2 with a solo shot in game two.

Saturday March 28, 2009No. 1 Softball Scores 19 Runs in Wins over No. 4 Alabama

Gainesville, Fla.

Paculba went 2-for-2 with a solo shot in game two.


No. 1/1 University of Florida (34-2, 13-0 SEC) defeated the No. 4/5 University of Alabama (26-6, 6-4 SEC) in Saturday’s doubleheader, 9-1 and 10-1, in front of a record-breaking crowd of 2,423.  The Gators’ solid pitching and multiple two-out rallies were the difference in the games as UF earned its largest margins of victories over the Crimson Tide in program history. 


Florida was led by sophomore Aja Paculba (Wildomar, Calif.), who went 5-for-6 with a home run, a double and four runs scored.  Every starting Gator earned a hit in the two games as the team racked up 20 hits on the day.


The previous attendance record of 2,388 was set on opening day in 1997, the program’s inaugural year.


The first game started as a pitchers’ duel but turned into a 12-hit, 9-1 blowout by the Gators, who handed Alabama starting pitcher Kelsi Dunne (12-1) her first loss of the season.  Senior Stacey Nelson (Los Alamitos, Calif.) finished the game giving up only one run on four hits and two walks while striking out seven.


Through four innings, both Nelson and Dunne were dominant, throwing one hitters.  In the top of the fifth, Nelson dug herself into a hole early and Bama struck first.  After walking the first two batters, Nelson gave up a single to right fielder Cassandra Reilly-Boccia. A good play and quick throw by freshman center fielder Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) kept Alabama’s go-ahead run at third.  With the bases loaded, Nelson plunked Tide shortstop Kellie Eubanks on the foot forcing the runner in from third, scoring to put the Tide up 1-0. 


In bottom half of the inning the Gators answered.  With one out, Paculba smashed a double over the head of the center fielder on a 2-3 count.  After sophomore Kelsey Bruder (Corona, Calif.) drew a walk to move Paculba over to second, senior Ali Gardiner (Waccabuc, N.Y.) loaded the bases on a looper to left field.  With two outs, the Gator bats came alive.  Junior Corrie Brooks (Christmas, Fla.) singled through the left side of the infield to score both Paculba and Bruder, who slid around a tag and touched home on a close play to make the score 2-1.  With runners on the corners, sophomore Megan Bush (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) continued the two-out rally with a single through the right side to score Gardiner from third.   


The Tide threatened to score in the top to the sixth but Nelson (18-2) pitched herself out of trouble. In the bottom half of the inning, the Gators continued to swing the bat well with two outs.  With runners on first and second, junior Francesca Enea (Woodland Hills, Calif.) smashed a three-run shot over the left field fence to extent the Gators lead to 6-1.  The next batter Brooks added to the lead with a solo home run, marking the third time the Gators put together back-to-back homers this season.  After back-to-back singles by Bush and Hilberth and walk by sophomore Tiffany DeFelice (Coral Springs, Fla.), pinch hitter redshirt freshman Shaunice Harris (Moreno Valley, Calif.) drew a walk to force Bush in from third.  With the bases loaded again and the Gators leading by seven, Paculba ended the game on a walk-off hit, scoring senior Kristina Hilberth (Dunedin, Fla.) from third.


In the second game the Tide struck early again as Kelley Montalvo tripled to center and later scoring from third on a sacrifice fly to take an early 1-0 lead in the first.  The Gators would not be intimidated, answering back with two runs to take the lead, scoring once in the first and once in the second on Paculba and Bush solo home runs. 


Gator starting pitcher sophomore Stephanie Bombracher (Pembroke Pines, Fla) settled down and held the Tide scoreless the rest of the game to earn her 16th victory of the season.  The righty improves to 16-0 on the season and 36-0 in her career. 


Back-to-back singles would set up Bruder to sock a three-run bomb over the left field fence to make the score 5-1 in the third.  The Gators then picked up a couple of quick outs but the offensive explosion was not over.  The Gators loaded the bases for Moultrie, who singled through the right side, scoring two runs and moving Hilberth to third.  Hilberth then scored on a throwing error when Alabama’s catcher tried to throw out Moultrie taking second.  Later Moultrie came around to score on a bloop double by freshman Alicia Sisco (Cooper City, Fla.) to shallow left.  Still with two outs, Bruder continued the scoring by driving Sisco in from second to make the score 10-1. 


The Gators play the series finale on Sunday, March 29 at 2 p.m.  The game will be televised on Sun Sports.

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