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Wednesday March 31, 2010No. 6 Softball Defeats UCF, 4-3, in Nine Innings

Orlando, Fla.

Powered by two freshmen, the No. 6/9 Florida softball team defeated UCF, 4-3, in nine innings in front of a record-break crowd of 1,091 at the UCF Softball Complex on Wednesday evening.  Freshman Brittany Schutte (Fountain Valley, Calif.) tallied the game-winning solo home run in the top of the ninth, while classmate Ensley Gammel (Bakersfield, Calif.) pitched four innings of scoreless relief, allowing only one hit to tally the win. 

 

Gammel (5-0) struck out six and walked three after coming in in the six inning.  The Gators (24-4, 6-2 SEC) tallied 15 hits while handing the Knights (22-13, 7-1 C-USA) their first extra-inning loss of the season (5-1).  Schutte’s bomb in the ninth was the first run UCF allowed in extra in 2010.  Ashleigh Cole (14-7) shouldered the loss for the Knights, tying a career high with nine strikeouts in her complete-game effort. 

 

Schutte and sophomore Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) led the way in the box score for the Gators, going 3-for-5 on the night.  Senior Corrie Brooks (Christmas, Fla.) was 2-for-5 with her third home run in the last two games. 

 

Starting pitcher, junior Stephanie Brombacher (Pembroke Pines, Fla.), went five innings, allowed three runs, nine hits and no walks while striking out five. 

 

Brombacher retired the first seven batters she faced before giving up UCF’s first hit of the night to Vanessa Perez in the third, which was a slow roller to short.  With two down, Abby McClain hit a hard shot up the middle, but Brombacher forced Natalie Land to hit one back at the pitcher to end the inning.

 

After four-and-a-half scoreless innings, the Knights were the first to strike, tallying a run in the fifth.  After Brombacher struck out her counterpart, Cole, swinging, Vanessa Perez hit a chopper to junior shortstop Megan Bush (Anaheim Hills, Calif.), which took a bad hop allowing Perez to reach safely.  Morgan Bullard followed with a single to right.  With two down, Natalie Land singled to center to score Perez and give UCF a 1-0 lead before Brombacher got the final batter to fly out.

 

It took Brooks one swing of the bat to tie the game.  With one out, the third baseman launched her fourth homer of the season over the palm trees in left center field to tie the game at one all. 

 

UCF retook the lead in the bottom of the inning, scoring two runs on three hits.  Arielle Palafax led off with a single to left and Tiffany Lane kept things going with a double to left.  Marissa Menendez plated both runners and gave the Knights the lead back with a triple to deep right center.  That brought Gammel in to relieve the junior. 

 

Facing her first batter, the freshman forced Cole to chop one to third and Brooks tagged Menendez, who was caught off the bag, to get the lead runner.  After walking Perez, Gammel got Bullard swinging and McClain to ground out to keep any more UCF runs from coming in.  

 

The Gators tied the game in the top of the seventh as Moultrie led off with a single up the middle and moved to second on a wild pitch.  Senior Francesca Enea (Woodland Hills, Calif.) doubled to deep center to drive Moultrie in and bring UF within one.  Gammel came in to pinch run and moved to third when junior Kelsey Bruder (Corona, Calif.) singled to right.  With one out, Schutte hit a blooper into left to score Gammel for the tying run.

 

Gammel wasted no time retiring the Knights, complete with two swinging Ks, to force extras.  With one down, junior Aja Paculba (Wildomar, Calif.) nailed her third triple of the season to center.  Moultrie tried to bring her teammate in with a line drive, but shortstop Lane made a diving catch for the second out.  After Enea drew a walk, she tried to take second as Paculba headed for home.  Knights’ catcher McClain threw to Lane, who fired back to McClain to catch the junior at the plate and end the inning.

 

After forcing the Lane to ground out, Gammel walked Menendez who advanced to third on a long single by Cole.  The righty settled down to get the next batter to foul out and Bullard to strike out swinging to keep the Knights off the board again. 

 

With two down in the ninth, Schutte nailed her eighth home run of the year to center on a 3-1 count to give the Gators a 4-3 lead before Cole could retire final Gator.

 

Gammel returned to the circle with a one-run lead and after walking the lead-off batter, she forced Land to ground one to Brooks, who got the out at second.  Hillary Barrow reached first and Land was safe at second on a Gator error, by Gammel was not shaken as she ended the game and sealed the Gator win with two strikeouts.    

 

Florida is now 2-1 in extra innings and has come from behind to win nine times in 2010.

 

The Gators host No. 12 LSU, who are 8-0 in the SEC, at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium in a three-game series beginning with a doubleheader on Saturday, April 3 at 1 p.m. (ET).  All three games will be broadcast on WYGC-FM 105 The Game (104.9) and live stats will be available on www.GatorZone.com.

 

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