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Saturday April 10, 2010No. 4 Softball Takes Two From Arkansas

Fayetteville, Ark.

Led by junior Aja Paculba (Wildomar, Calif.), the No. 4/5 University of Florida softball team swept a doubleheader against Arkansas, 9-5 and 12-3, at Bogle Park.  The second baseman extended her hit streak to a career-long 13 games, tied for the second longest ever in UF history, while recording her first career grand slam. 


Junior Stephanie Brombacher (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) tallied the Gators’ (29-4, 11-2 SEC) first win, pitching 4.1 innings, allowing five hits, three runs, one walk and striking out five.  The righty (20-4) recorded her 20th win for the third straight season.  Freshman Ensley Gammel (Bakersfield, Calif.) recorded her second save, going 2.2 innings, allowing five hits, two runs, one earned, one walk and striking out one.  Gammel (8-0) picked up the win in the second game, throwing four innings, allowing only two hits, one walk and striking out two, while not allowing an Arkansas runner to cross the plate.


Paculba went 3-for-7 on the day with a team-high six RBIs, three runs and two doubles.  The two-time All-American has tallied 165 career runs, second all-time in UF record books.  Former Gator Kim Waleszonia collected 166 in her career. 


Gammel went 2-for-3 at the plate, while senior Francesca Enea (Woodland Hills, Calif.) and freshman Brittany Schutte (Fountain Valley, Calif.) both went 3-for-6.  Schutte tallied her 10th home run of the season, which tied the catcher for second on Florida’s all-time  freshman list. 


Hope McLemore (12-6) tallied the loss for the Razorbacks (24-15, 8-5 SEC) in the first game while Layne McGurit (7-6) shouldered the fifth-inning, second-game loss.


The Razorbacks struck first in the first contest, tallying three runs off three hits in the first.  Jessica Bachkora led off with a double to center and advanced to third on a sac bunt.  Sandra Smith earned a walk, but was forced out at second when Miranda Dixon grounded to freshman shortstop Brittany Walker (Tomball, Texas).  Courtney Breault drove in the first run of the game on a single to shallow center and Stephanie Brewer plated two more on her double to left, giving Arkansas a three-run lead.  Brombacher ended the inning with a swinging K.


The Gators took the lead in the fourth with back-to-back homers.  Enea drew a lead-off walk and junior Kelsey Bruder (Corona, Calif.) moved her along with an infield single up the middle.  Schutte belted one over the left-field wall to clear the bases and tie the ballgame.  Junior Megan Bush (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) put Florida up a run on the first pitch she saw with a solo shot to center, the fourth time this season the Gators have tallied back-to-back bombs.  Senior Corrie Brooks (Christmas, Fla.) kept things going with a long single to left on her first pitch of her at bat.  The third baseman stole second and moved to third when Walker grounded back to McLemore.  Paculba drove her teammate in on a double to left center, giving the Gators a 5-3 lead. 


After Brombacher sat the Hogs down in order on three strikeouts, the Gators loaded the bases in the fifth, but could not score any runs.  Enea and Bruder started the inning with singles and Schutte grounded out to move both into scoring position.  Bush was hit by a pitch to load the bases, but Brooks grounded one to her counterpart at third, who threw home to get Enea out on the force out at the plate.  McLemore got Holle to foul out keep UF off the scoreboard. 


With one out in the bottom of the inning, Bachkora hit a lead-off double to left for her second two-bagger of the game.  Gammel came in to relieve Brombacher and got the next batter to ground out to second, moving Bachkora to third.  With the Razorbacks threatening, Gammel forced Smith to ground one to Walker, who backhanded it and threw to first baseman Bush for the final out of the inning.


Florida added four runs in the sixth, including three on a bomb by Enea.  Walker led off with a double down the right-field line and Moultrie walked on four pitches to put two on for the left fielder.  She launched the first pitch she saw over way the left-field fence for her 56th career home run and her 204th career RBI, moving into third place in the SEC record book. 


The home run chased McLemore from the game as Kim Jones came in in relief.  Bruder kept things going with a single off the center-field wall.  Schutte reached on an error by shortstop Brittany Griffiths and with the double steal on, Bruder was able to score UF’s ninth run of the game when Hogs’ catcher Jessica Waddle overthrew the third-base bag. 


Arkansas notched a run in the bottom of the inning as Dixon led off with a single to center and moved to second on a wild pitch.  After Breault walked, Gammel got the next batter swinging and Tori Mort to ground to Paculba, who tagged Breault but overthrew first, allowing Dixon to score. 


The Razorbacks added one more in the seventh, but the Gator defense stepped up to end the game and come away with the first win of the day.  Three straight singles plated Griffiths, who led off the inning.  Smith tallied the fourth single of the inning to load the bases but Dixon hit one to Walker, who threw home to get the force out at the plate.  Breault ended the game with a grounder to Paculba, who tagged Dixon and threw to Bush at first for the double play.


With Gammel on the mound, the Gators got on the board quickly in the second game, notching two runs in the first inning and adding a third in the second.  Paculba led off the game with a four-pitch walk and Moultrie singled up the middle to put two on.  Both runners moved up on an illegal pitch and Bruder grounded to second to score Paculba.  Moultrie scored on an illegal pitch during Schutte’s at bat for the second run of the inning.  In the second, Gammel led off with an infield single as she beat the throw to first.  With two outs, the pitcher stole second and scored on Moultrie’s single to center. 


Florida added three to its lead in the fourth on four hits.  Brooks started things off with a double to right center and Walker drove her in with a single through the right side.  Paculba doubled to score Walker and moved to third on the throw home.  With two outs, Enea knocked a hard-hit single to center to score Paculba and give the Gators a 6-0 lead.


Gammel continued to roll, striking two out in the bottom of the fourth and her teammates kept up the scoring in the fifth, highlighted by Paculba’s grand slam.  Schutte tallied the Gators’ third lead-off hit of the game with a single and sophomore Lauren Heil (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) came in to pinch run.  She immediately stole second and scored on Bush’s double to left.  Bush took third on a wild pitch after Brooks drew a walk.  Gammel plated her first baseman on a single to center.  Walker loaded the bases for Paculba with a walk and Paculba launched her sixth homer of the year to left to give the Gators a 12-0 lead. 

Freshman Erin Schuppert (Atlantic Beach, Fla.) came in to pinch the last of the seventh.  The Hogs were able to load the bases on two errors and a fielder’s choice with no outs.  After Schuppert got Becca Carden to fly out, she walked Smith to score Arkansas’s first run of the second game.  Dixon singled to bring in the second run and Beault tallied a sacrifice fly for the third.  Schuppert ended the game with a groundout to Bush and the Gators came away with the 12-3 win.


Florida plays the series finale against Arkansas on Sunday at 2 p.m. (ET).  The game will be broadcast on WYGC-FM 105 The Game (104.9). 


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