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Sunday May 21, 2000Softball Loses to Cal 2-1 in Regional Semifinal

FRESNO, Calif.

The Florida softball teamís best showing in the NCAA tournament and its hopes for a Womenís College World Series appearance ended Sunday afternoon as eventual Region 6 Champion California eliminated the fourth-seeded Gators from the bracket with a 2-1 decision at the Bulldog Diamond.

It was the second loss the third-seeded Bears (48-23), ranked 10th nationally, handed UF over the weekend. The Gators (46-30) concluded their 2000 campaign with the second-most wins in the four-year program history. Cal advanced to the NCAA Championship bracket to be played May 25-29 in Oklahoma City, Okla., with a 2-0 shutout of top-seeded, host Fresno State.

Coach Larry Ray acknowledged his teamís accomplishments this season. "I am extremely proud of the we played this weekend. We battled back throughout the series, and I think we surprised some people. Unfortunately, we didnít play defense like the way we had been the latter part of our season."

UF, which hadnít committed more than two errors in its last 16 outings, tied a season-high with four in the game. As a result, both of Calís runs were unearned for pitcher Beth Dieter (Orlando, Fla./Dr. Phillips). The senior (20-16) had two strikeouts in her career finale.

Senior second baseman Jenn Cordero (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla./St. Thomas Aquinas) scored first for the visiting Gators in the third inning. Cordero reached on a fielderís choice and came in on the first of two base hits by senior Nicole Kreipl (Huntington Beach, Calif./Huntington Beach). Kreipl was 2-for-2 to record her second consecutive multiple hit game of the series. Third baseman Lora Pinkerton (Phoenix, Ariz./Moon Valley) set a school record for the second consecutive day. The senior posted her 23rd multiple-hit game, a UF single-season best, going 2-for-3.

The Bears took a 2-1 lead with the help of three UF errors in their next frame. Right fielder Paige Bowie led off with a double and scored on a throwing error to first base. Catcher Courtney Scott, who reached on that error, later scored with two outs on the board. Scott advanced to third on a fielding miscue at shortstop then came in on an off-target throw to home from short.

UF rallied with a pair of base hits in the fifth, but Calís pitcher Jocelyn Forest retired the next seven batters in order to pick up her third victory in the tournament. Forest (23-13) struck out three.

Juniors Renise Landry (West Monroe, La./West Monroe) and Emily Marino (Joliet, Ill./Joliet) were named to the All-Region team. Landry picked up both of the Gatorsí wins in the circle and led all pitchers with a 0.00 ERA. Marino hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the eighth against Texas Saturday to help UF advance.

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