Sunday May 24, 2009No. 1 Softball Heads to the WCWS with a Doubleheader Defeat of No. 14 California
The No. 1/1 Florida softball team stamped its second-consecutive trip to Oklahoma City for the Womenís College World Series Sunday at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium, defeating the No. 14/16 Cal Golden Bears, 2-0, and 2-1, to improve to 60-3 overall on the season. Florida emerged out of the Gainesville Super Regional with its 59th and 60th wins, marking the second time in program history the Gators recorded a 60-win season.
Florida senior pitcher Stacey Nelson (Los Alamitos, Calif.) recorded the two wins, beating Cal in both games for the second straight year.† She tallied her 10th double-digit strikeout game of the season, sending 13 Cal batters to the bench in the first game of the doubleheader. She added six more in game two.† The righty (39-3) gave up only six hits total on the day and did not allow a walk for the 12th and 13th times this season.†
To start game one, sophomore Aja Paculba (Wildomar, Fla.) slammed her fourth lead-off home run of the season over the left-field fence after battling Marissa Drewerey (24-11) for 13 pitches.† The second basemanís ninth bomb of the season gave the Gators a 1-0 lead.†
After allowing a single to right field, Nelson got Calís next three batters swinging in the second to carry Florida to the bottom of the inning unscathed. The Gators kept the momentum up, and following a single to center and two sacrifice bunts by sophomore Tiffany DeFelice (Coral Springs, Fla.) and senior Kim Waleszonia (Fontana, Calif.), sophomore Megan Bush (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) scored on a wild pitch, giving the Gators a 2-0 lead.
The Gators closed out the game with three consecutive strikeouts from Nelson after Calís Taylor Kelly had a lead-off base hit.
Sophomore Stephanie Brombacher (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) got the start in game two and pitched the first two innings.† The righty struck out one and allowed two hits and an unearned run.†
The Golden Bears scored first with a two-out unearned run after Shannon Thomas reached base on a fielderís choice and then stole second. Thomas advanced to third on senior Gina Leomitiís groundout to shortstop and scored on a throwing error by shortstop Bush.
The Gators responded with two runs in the top of the third to take the lead.† Bush and DeFelice put runners on first and second with a hit by pitch and walk, respectively.† Sophomore Ami Austin (Ormond Beach, Fla.) came in to pinch run for Bush. Waleszonia laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt to move both Gators into scoring position.† Paculba came through with a double to left center to give UF a 2-1 lead.
Nelson came in in relief with the leadoff runner on second and no outs in the third.† She retired the side with two Ks and a groundout.
The Bears threatened in the sixth by putting runners on first and second with two straight singles and no outs.† Nelson forced Sanoe Kekuna to ground back to the mound and the Gators executed a 1-5-3 double play.† Elia Reid popped out to end the inning and keep the UF lead.
Although the Gators did not add to their lead, Floridaís defense and Nelsonís pitching held the one-run advantage.† The senior got the final Cal batter on a swinging strikeout to send UF to the WCWS.† Valerie Arioto (14-9) allowed four hits, two earned runs and struck out six in the loss.
Florida will take on nine-seed Arizona on Thursday, May 28 at 9 p.m.† Fans can watch the game live on ESPN or espn360.com and can listen on WRUF (am850.com).† ††