Saturday May 2, 2009No. 1 Softball Earns 11th Straight Shutout on Day One of Senior Weekend
Junior Corrie Brooks (Christmas, Fla.) went a combined 4-for-6 on the day with a grand slam, five RBI and two runs scored as the No. 1/1 University of Florida (51-3, 26-1 SEC) softball team defeated Longwood (23-22) , 11-0 and 6-0, in Saturday’s doubleheader at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. The two games marked the beginning of Senior Weekend festivities for the Gators, as seniors Le-Net Franklin (Belton, Texas), Danyell Hines (Bryan, Texas) and Brooke Johnson (Lakeland, Fla.) were all honored in pregame ceremonies. The two victories gave the Gators their 11th straight shutout, a program record.
With its 51st win, Florida recorded its third straight 50-win season. Head Coach Tim Walton led the Gators to their first 50-win season in 2007. Last year’s team set an NCAA record of 70 wins.
In the first game of the afternoon, senior Stacey Nelson (Los Alamitos, Calif.) struck out seven and allowed just one hit in her 26th complete game of the season. The Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award finalist (31-3) failed to yield a walk in her 17th shutout of the season. Brittany Spencer took the loss for the Lancers, falling to 4-5 on the season.
Brooks was the offensive superstar of the first contest, finishing 2-for-3 with a grand slam, five RBI and two runs scored. Sophomore Kelsey Bruder (Corona, Calif.) and senior Kim Waleszonia (Fontana, Calif.) recorded two RBI apiece, with Bruder also crossing home twice.
The Gators wasted no time honoring their seniors in the first stanza, exploding with their second-highest run total in the first inning. Senior Kristina Hilberth (Dunedin, Fla.) drew a one-out walk and senior Ali Gardiner (Waccabuc, N.Y.) singled to right to put two runners on. Bruder pinched a single to left that plated Hilberth from second and gave the Gators their first run of the game. With Gardiner on the corner and Bruder on second, Brooks looped a base hit over the head of the second baseman to knock in Gardiner and give the Gators a two-run lead. Waleszonia then bounced a chopper up the middle for a bases-clearing single, scoring Brooks and Gardiner. Franklin followed by greeting a 1-0 count with a towering home run to right, making the score 6-0 in favor of the Orange and Blue. The round-tripper was the first-career home run for the senior honoree.
Florida tallied five runs on five hits in the fourth frame to conclude the game scoring. Sophomore Aja Paculba (Wildomar, Calif.) and Hilberth shot two hard-hit singles up the middle to start the inning. After Gardiner drew a walk to fill the bags, Bruder collected her second RBI of the game by taking first on a walk, scoring Paculba and providing the Gators with a 7-0 advantage. With the bases full once again, Brooks blasted her team-leading fourth grand slam of the season to left. The team’s 10th grand slam of the season gave the game its final score of 11-0.
Sophomore Stephanie Brombacher (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) notched her 20th win of the season and bettered her career record to 40-0 with the game-two victory. The righty dealt her 17th complete game of the 2009 campaign, shutting out the Lancers and allowing just two hits while walking only one. Briana Wells received the loss for Longwood, falling to 19-17 on the season.
Sophomore Tiffany DeFelice (Coral Springs, Fla.) led the way offensively for the Gators in the second contest, going 1-for-2 with three RBI and one run scored. Sophomore Megan Bush (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) also contributed, going a perfect 2-for-2 with two runs scored and an RBI. Brooks added to her impressive game-one performance, going 2-for-3 at the plate.
The home team scored first for the second consecutive contest, but this time did so by way of small ball. Paculba took first to start off the game for the Gators courtesy of a full-count walk. After stealing second, Waleszonia executed a sacrifice bunt to knock Paculba over to third. Junior Francesca Enea (Woodland Hills, Calif.) set a school record hitting her 11th career sacrifice fly to center and scoring Paculba. The run put the Gators on the board with a 1-0 lead.
Sophomore Megan Bush (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) led off the second inning by belting a two-bagger to right center. Following a perfectly performed bunt by DeFelice, advancing Bush to third, freshman Alicia Sisco (Cooper City, Fla.) rewarded the sacrifice by knocking in Brooks on a groundout to second that gave the Gators a 2-0 advantage.
The Gators added an additional run in the fourth to give the match a 3-0 score. Once Bruder reached first after getting plunked by Wells, Brooks knocked her over to second with an infield single to short. Bush laid down a sac bunt to put both runners in scoring position. DeFelice grounded out to second for the second out, but allowed Bruder to cross the plate for the only run of the inning.
The Gators would put the game away in the sixth inning, doubling its run total with a three-run frame. Enea started off the inning by accepting a walk, and after Johnson pinch-ran for Enea, Brooks followed up with a one-out single to center. Bush then sliced a single to left that scored Johnson, but Brooks was thrown out in a pickle at second. With one on and two down, DeFelice took a 0-2 delivery far over the fence in left for her first bomb of the season, aiding the Gators with its final six-run margin.
Florida concludes its memorable 2009 regular-season home campaign on Sunday at 1 p.m. in the finale of its three-game series with Longwood. Hilberth, Nelson, Gardiner and Waleszonia will be honored 20 minute before the start of the game.