Saturday April 25, 2009No. 1 Softball Breaks Home Run Record in Shutouts of Arkansas
No. 1/1 University of Florida shut out Arkansas, 11-0, in two five-inning games on Saturday afternoon at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. The Gators (48-3, 25-1 SEC) tallied three home runs in the doubleheader to bring their season total to 65, a new program record.
The pitching staff of senior Stacey Nelson (Los Alamitos, Calif.) and sophomore Stephanie Brombacher (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) allowed the Razorbacks (25-23, 10-13 SEC) only four hits in the entire game. Nelson (29-3) recorded both wins, bringing her career total to 124, eighth best on the NCAA’s all-time list.
Sophomore Kelsey Bruder (Corona, Calif.) led the way for the Gators going 3-for-4 on the day with her second career grand slam, two doubles and eight RBI.
Junior Francesca Enea (Woodland Hills, Calif.) started things off early for the Gators, tallying a two-out, two-run homer to dead center field in the first. UF threatened for more in the inning as Bruder drew a walk and junior Corrie Brooks (Christmas, Fla.) singled through the left side. Sophomore Megan Bush (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) walked to load the bases. McGruit (0-1) got out of the jam by forcing freshman Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) to ground out to on a hard-hit ball to second.
Senior Ali Gardiner (Waccubuc, N.Y.) added two more to the Florida lead in the second with a two-run single with no outs. Freshman Alicia Sisco (Cooper City, Fla.) started the inning off with a chopper to third, beating the throw to first. Sophomore Aja Paculba (Wildomar, Calif.) drew a walk and senior Kristina Hilberth (Dunedin, Fla.) singled up the middle to load the bases. Gardiner nailed one to center to score Sisco and Pacubla. Enea walked to reload the bases, chase McGruit from the game. Kim Jones came in to face Bruder, who coaxed a walk to bring in Hilberth for the third run of the inning. Brooks hit a grounder to short, which Brittany Griffiths mishandled, scoring Gardiner. With one down, Moultrie hit a grounder to the shortstop to score Bruder and give the Gators a 7-0 lead.
Senior Kim Waleszonia (Fontana, Calif.) made her first appearance since injuring her knee on Feb. 28 as a pinch hitter in the second.
Paculba singled to right to keep things moving for the Gators in the third. Hilberth followed with her second hit of the day, a double to center. With Paculba on third and two outs, Bruder smacked a double to deep right center to score both base runners and give the Gators a 9-0 lead.
Brombacher came in to relieve Nelson in the fourth. Bush walked and pinch hitting sophomore Tiffany DeFelice (Coral Springs, Fla.) doubled to put runners on second and third with no outs in the fourth. Waleszonia tallied two RBI with a single through the left side scoring both runners and giving UF an 11-run lead.
The second game began much like the first as the Gators tallied two runs in the first. Paculba nailed her third triple of the season to right field and Enea drove her in with a two-out single. Bruder then smashed a double to score Enea.
The Gators put together a six-run second on six hits, complete with Bruder’s grand slam. Brooks started it all off with a single up the middle and then Sisco was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second. Paculba knocked in Brooks with a double to center. Hilberth drew a walk and Gardiner singled up the middle to score Sisco. Enea reached on a fielder’s choice and then Bruder cleared the bases with a bomb to left field, giving the Gators an 8-0 lead and their ninth grand slam of the season.
Gardiner gave UF its final three of game one in the third. With two on, Gardiner recorded her seventh homer of the season to left, giving the Gators an 11-0 lead heading into the fourth. Brombacher came in again to relieve Nelson in the top of the fifth.
Nelson finished the day with eight strikeouts, brining her career total to 999. She allowed three hits and two walks in seven innings. Brombacher threw three innings of relief, striking out two and giving up one hit.
Florida broke the home run record set by last year’s team (63). The 2009 Gators’ nine grand slams are the most in program history. In 2008, UF hit three, which was the previous high. With the two shutouts, the Gators have recorded eight in a row, another program record.
The Gators conclude the series with Arkansas and their SEC season on Sunday at 1 p.m.