Sunday February 21, 2010No. 3/9 Softball Defeats East Carolina, 1-0, to Win the Lipton Invitational
No. 3/9 Softball defeated East Carolina, 1-0, in a pitchers’ duel on Sunday as the Gators (9-1, 0-0 SEC) took the Lipton Invitational title, going 5-0 on the weekend. It was the third time UF defeated ECU by one run this season as the two teams combined for three hits on the day.
Junior Stephanie Brombacher (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) earned her seventh win in her second shutout of the season as she struck out seven batters and allowed only two hits and three walks.
Senior Francesca Enea (Woodland Hills, Calif.) recorded the game’s only RBI and Florida’s only hit while junior Aja Paculba (Wildomar, Calif.) provided the contest’s only run.
Toni Paisley went six innings for the Pirates (2-7, 0-0 C-USA), walking two, striking out four and no allowing an earned run.
Brombacher started the game on the right note, going 1-2-3 in the first with two strikeouts. Her teammates did their work to get on the board early, as lead-off batter Paculba tallied one in the first. The second baseman got on base with a walk, stole second and moved to third on a passed ball to quickly set herself to cross the plate. Enea brought her teammate in as she smoked a full-count pitch past the third baseman into left field.
Brombacher got out of a jam in the fourth after giving up her first walk of the game to Marina Gusman-Brown to lead off the inning. Kai Clark laid down a sacrifice bunt to move her teammate her, but Brombacher walked Vanessa Moreno to put runners at first and second with one out. The righty settled down to strike out the next batter and force the final out of the inning to pop up, ending the Pirates’ scoring threat and preserving the Gators’ one-run lead.
While Paisley kept the Gators off the board, Brombacher found her grove, striking out the first two ECU batters in the fifth looking and fielding the final out as Charina Sumner laced one back to the circle.
East Carolina got two abroad again in the sixth when Clark drew a two-out walk and Brombacher hit Moreno, but pinch hitter Suzanne Riggs went down swinging against the Gator pitcher to end the inning and keep the Pirates off the board.
The Pirates nearly tied the game in the top of the seventh as Cristen Aona led off with a double to center field, dropping it past the diving sophomore center fielder Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.). Pinch hitter Tiffany Shaw moved Aona over on a sacrifice bunt giving ECU its first base runner to reach third. With one out and the tying run on third, Brombacher got pinch hitter Cicely Lopez to strike out. Sumner nailed a low line drive at senior third baseman Corrie Brooks (Christmas, Fla.), who knocked it down and threw from her knees to junior first baseman Megan Bush (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) to get the final out and give the Gators the 1-0 win.
Paculba’s run in the first prove to be vital as Paisley retired 14 straight Gators from the second inning on.
The Gators have the week off before they host Northwestern State in a three-game series on Feb. 27-28 with a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at 1 p.m. ET. All three games will be broadcast on 105 Game (WYGC 104.9 FM) and can be viewed on GatorVision by visiting www.GatorZone.com.