Sunday May 3, 2009No. 1 Softball Ends Regular Season with 3-1 Win Over Longwood on Day Two of Senior Weekend
No. 1/1 University of Florida defeated Longwood, 3-1, in the regular-season finale on Sunday afternoon. Senior Kristina Hilberth (Dunedin, Fla.) recorded her first three-hit performance, leading the Gators with a 3-for-4 performance and the game-winning RBI. Seniors Ali Gardiner (Waccabuc, N.Y.), Hilberth, Stacey Nelson (Los Alamitos, Calif.) and Kim Waleszonia (Fontana, Calif.) were honored before the start of the game.
Nelson (31-3) tallied her eighth double-digit strikeout game, recording 11 while allowing four hits and one walk in the win. Briana Wells (19-18) shouldered the loss for the Lancers (23-23), giving up 11 hits and three walks to the Gators (52-3, 26-1 SEC).
Longwood scored the first run of the game in the third. Brittany Matthews started the inning with a single to center. Maggie Margadonna laid down a bunt to move her teammate over. An overthrow by Nelson advanced Matthews to third and she scored when the ball rolled all the way to the rolled-up tarp in right field. Margadonna ended up on third, but Hilberth picked her off during the next at bat and Nelson recorded the final two outs on Ks to get out of the inning. The run marked the first against the Gators in 74 innings.
Junior Corrie Brooks (Christmas, Fla.) evened the game in the bottom of the inning with a two-bagger. Classmate Francesca Enea (Woodland Hills, Calif.) drew a walk and sophomore Kelsey Bruder (Corona, Calif.) was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second. Brooks drove in pinch runner senior Brooke Johnson (Lakeland, Fla.) doubling to left field. Hilberth then gave the Gators the lead with a two-out single up the middle to score Bruder, who was standing at third.
After being hit twice by Wells, Bruder unloaded with a two-out home run, her 14th of the season, over the right-field fence to give the Gators the 3-1 lead in the sixth.
With two outs in the top of the seventh and a two-run lead, head coach Tim Walton replaced Hilberth, Gardiner and Nelson and the seniors left to standing ovations. Sophomore Stephanie Brombacher (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) recorded the save as she got Simmons to ground out to end the game.
The Gators travel to Knoxville, Tenn., to take on Auburn in the first round of the Southeastern Conference tournament on Thursday, May 7. Please check www.gatorzone.com for more information on the tournament.