Saturday May 30, 2009No. 1 Softball Defeats No. 6 Michigan, 1-0, in WCWS Win
Oklahoma City, Okla.
Led by the stellar pitching of senior Stacey Nelson (Los Alamitos, Calif.) and sophomore Megan Bush’s (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) game-winning home run, the No. 1/1 University of Florida shut out No. 7/6 Michigan, 1-0, in front of a record-breaking crowd of 8,323 at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.
The Gators (62-3) recorded five hits in the win, while Nelson (41-3) one-hit the Wolverines (47-11). The only hit they recorded was a chopper through the left side in the fourth. Nelson was on fire, tallying 57 strikes on 71 pitches. Through the first five innings, she recorded only five balls. She struck out nine on the night.
The righty tallied her 136th career win, which tied for sixth in the NCAA record book with Texas’s Cat Osterman. Her 22 shutouts this season tied for the best in the country with Massachusetts’s Brandice Balschmiter.
In the pitchers’ duel, Bush broke the scoreless tie in the sixth with her second lead-off solo shot in two days. On a 2-2 count, the shortstop smoked one into the left-field bleachers for her 16th of the season. The bomb brought her career total to 29, which is tied for fourth in UF record books.
The Gators got two runners on base in the top of the third, but could not cross the plate. Senior Kristina Hilberth (Dunedin, Fla.) recorded the first hit of the game with a chopper to the shortstop and senior Kim Waleszonia (Fontana, Calif.) moved her into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt. Sophomore Tiffany DeFelice (Coral Spring, Fla.) drew a two-out walk, but third baseman Maggie Viefhaus snagged junior Francesca Enea’s (Woodland Hills, Calif.) chopper out of the air to end the inning.
Michigan threatened in the fourth as Bree Evans started things off with single that bounced through the left side. Angela Findley laid down a bunt and Nelson went to second to get the lead runner, but Evans beat the throw. Both runners moved up on a sac bunt to put two Wolverines in scoring position. Nelson sat the final two batters down with two swinging strikeouts to get out of the jam.
The Gators loaded the bases in the fifth, but could not plate a run. Waleszonia tallied UF’s third hit of the game with a single up the middle and sophomore Aja Paculba (Wildomar, Calif.) drew a walk. DeFelice grounded out to first to move her teammates into scoring position. Michigan intentionally walked Enea to load the bases for sophomore Kelsey Bruder (Corona, Calif.). Nemitz got the right fielder swinging to keep the game scoreless. Nelson cruised through the bottom of the inning, retiring the side while throwing only one ball.
Nelson ended the game by forcing two groundouts and got the final batter swinging to give the Gators their second WCWS win and their 28th straight victory.
The Gators will play on Sunday, May 31 at 2 p.m. Their opponent has not been determined yet. The game will be live on ESPN and espn360.com.