Saturday May 1, 2010No. 5 Softball Sweeps Mississippi State in Doubleheader
The No. 6/5 University of Florida swept Mississippi State, 8-0 and 9-1, in two five-inning games on a rainy Saturday afternoon at MSU Softball field. Three Gators (37-7, 17-4 SEC) tallied home runs to bring the team’s total to 81 on the season, five away from the school and Southeastern Conference record it set last year.
Junior Stephanie Brombacher (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) earned the win in the first game, allowing only three hits and two walks while striking out four. The righty (25-5) tallied her seventh shutout of the season in her 14th complete game. Freshman Ensley Gammel (Bakersfield, Calif.) recorded the win in game two, allowing only two hits, walking three, and tied a career high with nine strikeouts. Gammel (11-2) retired eight consecutive batters from the second to the fourth inning.
Sophomore Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) recorded a hit in each game, as the center fielder has tallied a hit in 19 of the last 22 games and extended her hit streak to a career-long nine games. Freshman Brittany Schutte (Fountain Valley, Calif.) launched one of the three Gator homers, tying the UF freshman record with 13 set by junior Megan Bush (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) in 2008. Her 39 RBIs on the season is second on the team and third in the rookie record books.
Misty Flesher (12-9) shouldered the loss in the first game for the Bulldogs (26-26, 7-17 SEC), allowing 10 hits, eight runs, six earned, four walks and striking out two. Lindsey Dunlap (6-6) recorded the loss in the second game, going four innings, allowing four hits, five earned runs, three walks and striking out two. MSU’s Chelsea Bramlett came into the series leading the SEC with 90 hits, Brombacher shut the lead-off hitter down, as she went 0-for-3 in the first game.
The Gators got on the board immediately, scoring a run in the first. Senior Francesca Enea (Woodland Hills, Calif.) drew a two-out walk and hustled to third on Schutte’s full-count single to right. Bush doubled to center to score Enea and put the Gators up 1-0.
Florida added two more in the second as junior Tiffany DeFelice (Coral Springs, Fla.) stepped to the plate for the first time in 14 games as she returned from a hand injury. The catcher drew a walk and senior Corrie Brooks (Christmas, Fla.) followed with a low liner back at Flesher, who could not field the ball cleanly, but tried to get the third baseman at first. The pitcher overthrew the bag, allowing the hustling DeFelice to score from first and Brooks to reach third on an infield single and throwing error. Freshman Brittany Walker (Tomball, Texas) tallied the Gators’ second run with a sacrifice fly to right, plating Brooks.
After a 44-minute rain delay, Brombacher returned to the circle and retired the Bulldogs in order, including striking out one. Moultrie made the first out by catching Courtney Nesbit’s long fly ball as she crashed into the center-field wall to rob the MSU player of an extra-base hit.
The Gators added three more in the fourth to increase their lead to 6-0. Brooks drew a one-out walk and moved up to second when Walker slapped one between the plate and circle and was too fast for catcher Bramlett to throw her out at first. With runners on first and second, Moultrie smacked one to right center, scoring Brooks and moving Walker to third. Enea drove in two more UF runs with a single smoked through the right side, scoring both baserunners.
UF topped off its scoring in the fifth with two more as Schutte led off with a solo shot to left. Bush drew a four-pitch walk and sophomore Lauren Heil (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) came in to pinch run. Junior Kelsey Bruder (Corona, Calif.) doubled to left center, scoring Heil, but was caught trying to steal third. DeFelice tallied the Gators’ 10th hit of the game with a double to center before the end of the inning.
With an eight-run lead, Brombacher returned to the circle and after allowing a bloop single to start the inning, sat the next three MSU batters down in order to preserve the shutout victory.
In game two, the Gators used back-to-back sacrifice flies to score their two runs to start things off. Moultrie led off with a double to shallow right field and junior Aja Paculba (Wildomar, Calif.) followed with a four-pitch walk. Enea was hit by a full-count pitch to load the bases for Schutte, who tallied her third sac fly of the year, scoring Moultrie and allowing Paculba and Enea to move to second and third. Bush launched one to deep center field and Brittany Gates made a leaping catch at the wall, but Paculba tagged up to give Bush her conference-leading sixth sacrifice fly of the season and UF a 2-0 lead.
After Gammel was able to get out of a jam in the first with three strikeouts, MSU cut the Florida lead in half in the second as Bramlett tallied an RBI on a groundout. Gammel hit Erin Nesbit to start the inning and shortstop moved to third on two wild pitches. Gammel was able to tally her fourth strikeout before walking Jessie Spain. Bramlett grounded out to second, scoring Nesbit for the Bulldogs’ first and only run of the day. Gammel got Bainbridge swinging to end the inning.
It didn’t take long for the Gators to increase their lead, scoring two in the third. With one out, Bush belted her 12th home run of the season to left center, putting UF back up by two. Bruder followed with a double down the right-field line and tagged up to advanced to third on a long fly ball by DeFelice. The right fielder scored on Dunlap’s wild pitch.
Paculba pushed the UF lead to 5-1 with a two-out solo shot to left in the fourth, her eighth homer of the season. Kylie Vry replaced Dunlap in the fifth and after getting Bush swinging, she gave up a single to Bruder, who advanced to second on a wild pitch. DeFelice walked on four pitches and both runners stole a base to move into scoring position. Bruder crossed the plate for a second time on a wild pitch, giving the Gators a 6-1 lead. Brooks and DeFelice executed a perfect squeeze play with two outs and two strikes as Brooks bunted and DeFelice came home for UF’s seventh run. After Vry walked Walker, she was replaced by Stephanie Becker, who immediately got Moultrie to fly out. Paculba then smashed a triple to right, which got by Jessica Cooley, scoring Brooks and Walker. Paculba tallied a triple, but was thrown out at the plate, as Florida went up 9-1.
The Bulldogs put the first two batters on, earning a walk and a bunt single, but Gammel settled in and got Bainbridge swinging for the first out. After and error to load the bases, Bush fielded a ground ball and threw home for the force out at the plate. Gammel ended the game on a swinging K, earning her 11th victory of her freshman campaign.
The two teams return to action on Sunday at 1 p.m. (ET). The game can be viewed on SportSouth and on www.espn3.com and will be broadcast live on WYGC-FM 105 The Game. Sun Sports will reair the contest at 11 p.m. (ET) in Gainesville.