Saturday April 11, 2009No. 1 Softball Shuts Out Kentucky in Doubleheader as Enea Breaks UF Home Run Record
No. 1/1 University of Florida shut out Kentucky, 1-0 in nine innings and 6-0, in the doubleheader on Saturday. Junior Francesca Enea (Woodland Hills, Calif.) broke Florida’s record for career home runs as she hit two bombs in the second game to tally 37 in her two-and-half years as a Gator.
Senior Ali Gardiner (Waccabuc, N.Y.) recorded the only hit for the Gators (42-3, 20-1 SEC) and sophomore Kelsey Bruder (Corona, Calif.) tallied her fourth sacrifice fly of the season to drive in the only run of the first game.
Senior Stacey Nelson (Los Alamitos, Calif.) struck out 12, tying a season high, in her 22nd complete game of the year. The righty (25-3) recorded her 13th shutout of the season while allowing five hits and two walks. Rachel Riley (1-3) took the loss for the Wildcats (25-16, 8-11 SEC). The freshman pitched eight full innings before allowing a hit and forced 20 ground outs.
Playing their second straight extra-inning game, the Gators scored in the top of the ninth. Sophomore Tiffany DeFelice (Coral Springs, Fla.) led off the inning with her third walk of the game. Senior Le-Net Franklin (Belton, Texas) came in to pinch run and moved to second on Gardiner’s single through the left side. Enea grounded to second to move Franklin to third. Bruder tallied the sacrifice fly to center to give the Gators the only score they needed.
Nelson kept the game scoreless, getting out of multiple jams. In the bottom of the second with one out, the Wildcats loaded the bases with back-to-back singles and a hit batter. Nelson got Annie Rowlands looking for the second out and forced Destinee Mordecai to chop out to second to get out of the jam unscathed.
In the fourth, Brittany Cervantes led off with a double to left field. Natalie Smith recorded a sac bunt to move Cervantes to second. Nelson got Riley to whiff and then got Sam Demartine swinging on a change up on the 11th pitch of the at bat.
In the seventh, Demartine hit a bloop single to right field and Rowlands laid down a sacrifice bunt to move her teammate over. Mordecai drew a walk and then Molly Johnson grounded out to second to move both runners into scoring position. Nelson forced Meagan Aull to ground out to third to end the inning.
The Gators made a threat of their won in the first. Sophomore Aja Paculba (Wildomar, Calif.) hit a grounder to the shortstop but landed on second when Johnson overthrew the first baseman. DeFelice walked and Gardiner grounded out to move the runners to second and third. With two outs, Bruder hit a hard grounder to third, where the ball bounced off the fielder’s glove to Johnson, who was able to recover the ball and still make the play at first for the third out.
The last time Florida recorded only one hit was on March 10, 2007 in a 1-0 loss to Tennessee, hitting against All-American Monica Abbott.
Sophomore Stephanie Brombacher (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) tied a career high with 12 strikeouts, improving to 17-0 on the season and 37-0 in her career. She allowed only three hits and did not walk a UK batter for the sixth time this season. Amber Matousek (8-5) recorded the loss for Kentucky.
The Gators started the second game by scoring two in the first. Paculba drew a lead-off, four-pitch walk and was driven in by Enea’s bomb to left field. In the second, UF added another run to take a 3-0 lead when sophomore Megan Bush (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) singled down the third base line. Senior Kristina Hilberth (Dunedin, Fla.) laid down a sacrifice bunt to move her teammate over. Paculba recorded a two-out double to score Bush.
In the fifth, Enea added to the UF lead with a solo shot to left center. The left fielder’s 14th homer of the year passed Lindsay Cameron (2002-06), who ended her Gator career with 36.
Florida added two more in the sixth. Hilberth started things off with her first single of the day to right field. Moultrie followed with a single of her own, also to right. Right fielder Mordecai mishandled the ball and the two speedy runners crossed the plate to make it 6-0.
Johnson started the seventh with a single and ended up on third after a passed ball and a stolen base. Brombacher held the shutout with a strikeout and two caught foul balls.
The Gators return home to host UCF on Wednesday, April 15 in a single game 6 p.m.