Sunday April 19, 2009No. 1 Softball Takes Down No. 18 LSU, 12-0
Baton Rouge, La.
Baton Rouge, La.
No. 1/1 University of Florida finished off No. 18/19 LSU with a 12-0, five-inning victory in the series finale on Sunday. Led by senior Ali Gardiner (Waccabuc, N.Y.), the Gators tallied a season-high four home runs while scoring the most runs by either team in the all-time series.
For only the second time in Southeastern Conference history, the Gators (46-3, 23-1 SEC) finished their conference schedule with an undefeated road record. UF ended its SEC away schedule with 13 wins and no losses. The only other team to achieve the feat was the 1997 South Carolina Gamecocks, who tallied 10 wins without a loss.
The Gators shut out the Tigers (27-13-1, 10-9-1 SEC) in all three games, recording a combined scored of 16-0. UF came into Baton Rouge with only two all-time victories on LSU’s home field.
Gardiner recorded her first-ever two-homer day, tallying one in the first and another in the second. Redshirt freshman Shaunice Harris (Moreno Valley, Calif.) registered her first hit of the season, coming in a pinch hitter in the fifth and smacking one through the left side. Gardiner, along with sophomores Aja Paculba (Wildomar, Calif.), Kelsey Bruder (Corona, Calif.) and Megan Bush (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) all turned in 2-for-3 performances to lead the offense.
Senior Stacey Nelson (Los Alamitos, Calif.) allowed five hits while striking out seven in five innings. For the second straight game, the righty (27-3) allowed only one walk. Tallying her 122nd career win, she is in sole possession of the ninth spot on the NCAA’s all-time victories list. Cody Trahan (7-5) shouldered the loss for the Tigers in her shortest outing of her career (1.2 innings).
Much like the first game on Saturday, it didn’t take long for the Gators to score. Paculba led off with a bloop single to center and stole second to put herself in scoring position. With one out, Gardiner launched a bomb to left center for her fifth home run of the season, giving UF a 2-0 lead.
The Tigers tried to tally runs in the bottom of the first by loading the bases with two singles and a walk. With two down, Anissa Young chopped one back to Nelson, who fielded the ball cleanly and threw to Gardiner for the final out.
The Gators tacked on four more in the second. Bush and freshman Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville , Fla.) both singled to put runners on first and second with one out. Paculba moved both teammates over with a grounder to her counterpart at second. Senior Kristina Hilberth (Dunedin, Fla.) knocked a grounder to shortstop Juliana Sanots, which skirted under her glove. Bush and Moultrie both scored to give the Gators a four-run lead. Gardiner then smacked her second home run of the day, this one over the wall in left field, to score two more and give Florida a commanding 6-0 advantage. The sixth hit off Trahan chased her from the game as the Tigers went to Casey Faile.
Florida continued to add its lead in the fourth, tallying six runs. Paculba singled through the left side with one down and moved to second when Hilberth grounded back to Faile, who could not handle the ball. With runners on first and second, junior Francesca Enea (Woodland Hills, Calif.) smacked one up the middle to score Paculba. Bruder then cleared the bases with a homer to right field, her 11th of the season. Junior Corrie Brooks (Christmas, Fla.) then singled through the left side and Bush drove her in with a homer of her own, giving the Gators their 12-0 lead.
UF returns to action on Saturday, April 25 for its final SEC series as the Gators host Arkansas. The first game of Saturday’s 1 p.m. doubleheader will be televised on Sun Sports.