Saturday April 17, 2010No. 3 Softball Splits with Kentucky in SEC Matchup
The No. 3/4 University of Florida softball team split a doubleheader with Kentucky, 5-3 the score in both contests, on Saturday at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. Junior Megan Bush (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) hit her first grand slam of the season in the first game while going 3-for-6 on the day for the Gators (33-5, 13-3 SEC). Sophomore Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) went 5-for-6 on the day with two runs and a double.
Junior Stephanie Brombacher (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) earned her 22nd win in the first game in 5.1 innings of work, allowing seven hits, three runs, one walk and struck out four. Freshman Ensley Gammel (Bakersfield, Calif.) relieved Brombacher (22-4) and earned her fourth save while not allowing any hits, runs or walks in 1.2 innings. Gammel (10-1) shouldered her first collegiate loss in a complete-game effort in the second match-up, allowing 10 hits, five runs and one walk.
Kentucky’s Chanda Bell (15-9) tallied the loss in the first game, giving up six hits, five runs and three walks, while striking out five. Rachael Riley (10-6) earned the win in the second game by allowing six hits, three runs and two walks, while striking out one. The win marked seventh for the Wildcats (27-17, 11-10 SEC) against the Gators in the all-time series, the first in 10 games.
In the first game, Kentucky wasted no time getting on the board, tallying two runs in the first. After junior Aja Paculba (Wildomar, Calif.), who tallied five assists in the game, caught the first out, Natalie Smith drew a walk and advanced on a single to center by Megan Yocke. Samantha DeMartine followed with a single of her own that allowed Smith to hustle home and placed Yocke at third. Brombacher forced a swinging K before Meagan Aull singled up the middle to score Yocke and put the Wildcats up, 2-0. Brombacher answered by getting Destinee Mordecai swinging to send Kentucky back to the dugout.
The Gators took a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the inning as Bush sent 11th home run over the left-field fence. Florida began inning with the first three batters reaching base. Paculba earned a four-pitch walk, Moultrie hit a hard double through the right side and senior Francesca Enea (Woodland Hills, Calif.) was intentionally walked. Faced with two outs, the first baseman’s grand slam was the third of her career and the seventh for the Gators this season.
Neither team was able to plate a run until the Gators struck in the fourth. Freshman Kelsey Horton (Valrico, Fla.) hit a lead-off home run over the center-field fence, her second of the season, to increase the Gator lead to 5-2.
Kentucky was able to score in the sixth inning when DeMartine hit a sacrifice fly. Yocke led off with a triple to left field, and scored when DeMartine came to bat. With runners on first and second, Gammel came in to relieve Brombacher. Mordecai reached on a catcher’s interference to load the bases, but the Gator defense came through, as pinch hitter Riley grounded into a 643 double play to end the inning.
Gammel did not allow a Kentucky batter to reach base in the seventh to secure the Gator win.
The Gators began the second game with back-to-back home runs and a 3-0 lead after the first. Enea hit her 16th homer of the season to center field, bringing home Moultrie, who reached on a bunt single. Junior Kelsey Bruder (Corona, Calif.) then drilled a bomb to center field as well, marking the sixth time this season the Gators have hit back-to-back home runs. Enea is now tied for fourth on UF’s single-season record list. She owns the top spot with 18, set in 2009.
The Wildcats got back one run in the second. Aull started things off with a single through the right side and advanced to second when Mordecai reached on an error. Both runners moved up on a sacrifice bunt and when Kara Dill grounded to first, first baseman Bush threw home to try to catch Aull, but the UK player was safe at the plate. After trying to catch Dill advancing on the throw, freshman shortstop Brittany Walker (Tomball, Texas) threw to freshman catcher Brittany Schutte (Fountain Valley, Calif.) to get Mordecai out trying to score UK’s second run. Gammel ended the inning with a swinging K.
Kentucky was able to tie the game at three in the fourth. Mordecai drew a walk and with two down, she advanced to third on a single by Dill, who moved up to second on the throw, putting both runners in scoring position. Molly Johnson reached on an error, which allowed Mordecai to score and a subsequent infield single by Smith brought home Dill and moved Johnson to second. Yocke’s hit to center would have scored Johnson, but Moultrie gunned her down at the plate to end the inning.
UK continued its offense in the fifth to take the 5-3 lead. DeMartine led off with a single up the middle and was replaced by pinch runner Macy Allen. Allen was able to advance on a sacrifice bunt by Brittany Cervantes and moved to third on a single to center by Aull, who then stole second. Mordecai reached on a fielder’s choice to load the bases and Allen was able to score when Annie Rowlands grounded out to short. Aull moved to third on the play and then came home on a single through the right side by Dill.
The Gators were unable to answer in the remaining innings and surrendered their only third SEC loss of the season. They have a chance to take the series Sunday when they face the Wildcats at noon. The game will be broadcast on ESPNU. Adam Schick and Ali Gardiner will call the game on WYGC-FM 105 (104.9) The Game and live stats will be available on www.GatorZone.com.