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Saturday May 20, 2000Softball Defeats Texas 5-2 in Eight Innings

FRESNO, Calif.

Emily Marino is pictured left with her home run ball.

Junior Emily Marino (Joliet, Ill/Joliet Catholic) knocked out a three-run bomb in the bottom of the eighth to put the fourth-seeded Florida softball team atop No. 5 Seed Texas 5-2 and eliminate the Longhorns (30-27-1) from the NCAA Region 6 Tournament Saturday night at the Bulldog Diamond. It gave the Gators (46-29) a chance to play for the Region 6 title and a berth into the NCAA Womenís College World Series May 25-29 in Oklahoma City, Okla.

The Gators will play No. 3 Seed Cal Sunday at 4 p.m. If Cal defeats host Fresno State in Saturdayís nightcap, UF would need to beat the Bears twice for the regional championship. If the top-seeded Bulldogs hold out, UF and Calís game will serve as an elimination game for the right to play Fresno for the title.

Marinoís swung on a 2-0, one-out pitch to record her 15th home run of the year. "Iím so in shock," Marino said. "I donít remember what it was, I remember it was up. I knew I hit it hard, and when I looked at (first base coach Gaye Lynn Wilson), she was going crazy. Thatís when I knew it was out."

"Our team just keeps going," fourth-year Coach Larry Ray said. "Iím very proud of them. And, Iím extremely proud of Emily Marino to get the key hit."

UF scored first in its first inning, but Texas went ahead with a pair of runs in the third frame. UT pitcher Charla Moore retired 17 consecutive Gators before UF got hot again in the sixth. Senior Lora Pinkerton (Phoenix, Ariz./Moon Valley) rallied with a base hit, setting the school, single-season hits record with 73. But, the Gators didnít score again until the seventh. Sophomore Andrea Zimbardi (Green, Ohio/Green) drove in freshman pinch runner Lana Harris (Satellite Beach, Fla./Satellite) from second base. Harris was running for shortstop Jenn Mossadeghi (Jupiter, Fla./The Kingís Academy), who hit a double.

Junior pitcher Renise Landry (West Monroe, La./West Monroe) came in relief for senior Beth Dieter (Orlando, Fla./Dr. Phillips) after three and a third innings. Landry (21-11) recorded the win while setting the UF record for consecutive scoreless innings pitched. She now has 28 and two-thirds shutout frames. Landry gave up five hits and a walk, and struck out one. Dieter allowed both runs off of four hits and a walk. She also had one strikeout. UTís Carmen Martinez subbed in for Moore in the eighth. She went a third of an inning before giving up Marinoís shot to left field.

WRUF-AM 850 will broadcast the game live.

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