Wednesday April 8, 2009Enea's Ninth-Inning Walk-Off Home Run Gives No. 1 Softball Win over No. 21 Florida State
No. 1/1 University of Florida defeated No. 21/rv Florida State, 4-3, in nine innings Wednesday evening in front of 2,398 fans, the second largest crowd in the history of Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. Junior Francesca Enea (Woodland Hills, Calif.) hit a walk-off home run, the second for the Gators in the last three games, to give Florida its 40th win.
Sophomore Aja Paculba (Wildomar, Calif.) led the way for the Gators (40-3, 18-1 SEC) with a 2-for-4 performance, tallying one run. Senior Stacey Nelson (Los Alamitos , Calif.) improved her win total to 24 after coming in late in the game. Nelson earned the victory after relieving sophomore starter Stephanie Brombacher (Pembroke Pines, Fla.). Reliever Terese Gober (18-8) took the loss for the Seminoles (29-13, 5-4 ACC), giving up two solo home runs late in the game.
Paculba started the game off with a lead-off single to get things started for UF. After stealing second, she advanced to third on a grounder by senior Ali Gardiner (Waccabuc, N.Y.). She put the Gators on the board by scoring on a wild pitch by FSU starter Sarah Hamilton.
In the third, after reaching first base on a bunt single, freshman Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) put the Gators up by two by swiping second and third and crossing the plate on a throwing error by the second baseman Kristie McConn.
After two scoreless innings, Kaleigh Rafter tied the game in the sixth for Florida State with a two-run round-tripper. Then Michelle Snyder gave FSU a one-run lead with a solo home run to left field in the top of the seventh.
Florida, however, would strike back in the bottom of the inning. With two outs, sophomore Megan Bush (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) hit a solo shot to left center to tie the game, 3-3.
Head coach Tim Walton went to Nelson in the top of the eighth inning with one away. Nelson retired five of the six batters she faced to give the Gators a shot to win in the bottom of the ninth.
Enea led off the inning to hit a walk-off home run to lift the Gators over Florida State, 4-3. The long ball was the 35th of Enea’s career, just one shy of tying the school record.
Brombacher struck out seven and walked only one while allowing seven hits and three earned runs in her 7.1 innings. Nelson allowed one hit and struck out three in her 1.2 innings of relief.
The Gators travel to Kentucky to take on the Wildcats in their final SEC East series of the season. The three-game series begins on Friday with a doubleheader beginning at 4 p.m. The game will be televised on Cox Sports (Channel 259).