Friday May 29, 2009No. 1 Softball Shuts Out No. 6 Arizona in First WCWS Game
Oklahoma City, Okla.
No. 1/1 University of Florida defeated No. 6/7 Arizona, 3-0, on Thursday night at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in front of 6,483 people. Led by senior Stacey Nelson (Los Alamitos , Calif.), who tallied 12 strikeouts, the Gators (61-3) extended their winning streak to 27 games.
Junior Francesca Enea (Woodland Hills, Calif.) and sophomore Megan Bush (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) produced the scoring for the Gators, launching home runs in the first and second innings. Enea tallied her 18th bomb of the season, breaking UF’s single-season record and surpassing the mark she set in 2008, which tied Kristen Butler’s 2006 record.
Arizona (46-16), which came into the game averaging 8.18 runs per game, could not muster a run against UF as the Gators registered their 38th shutout of the season. After the first inning, the Wildcats did not record a hit and could not get a runner past first. Lindsey Sisk (13-5) shouldered the loss.
Nelson tallied her 40th win, bringing her season record to 40-3. She allowed only two hits, both in the first inning and walked three batters in the game. Her 12 Ks tied for the second most this season.
The Wildcats threatened in the first, putting runners on second and third on two singles and a groundout with one out. Nelson settled in and got Stacie Chambers swinging and Samantha Banister to pop up to end the inning.
Enea nailed a bomb over the center-field wall with senior Kristina Hilberth (Dunedin, Fla.) on second to give the Gators a 2-0 lead in the first.
Nelson set the tone in the second by striking out three of the four batters she faced. Bush followed her pitcher’s performance up with a solo shot to left center to put the Gators up 3-0 with her 15th of the season. That chased Sisk from the game, as the Wildcats went to their bullpen and brought in Sarah Akamine. She allowed a single to sophomore Aja Paculba (Wildomar, Calif.), but got three Gators swinging to end the inning.
Although Akamine halted more Gator scoring, Nelson and the UF defense shut down the Wildcats. From the third inning on, Nelson was unstoppable, retiring 15 of the 17 batters she faced, including striking out eight.
The Gators will take on fifth-seeded Michigan on Friday, May 29 at 9 p.m. (ET). Fans can watch all the softball action on ESPN2 and espn360.com. For score updates, follow the softball team on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/GatorZoneSBall.