Saturday June 5, 2010No. 4 Softball Falls to No. 6 Georgia to End 2010 Season
Oklahoma City, Okla.
In the first meeting of the season between Southeastern Conference rivals fourth-seed University of Florida and sixth-seed Georgia, the Gators fell to the Bulldogs, 3-2, in a close battle in front of a record crowd of 9,080 at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.
The Gators end their season 49-10 and set the program and SEC single-season record with 109 home runs. The team set six other program records: batting average (.331), slugging percentage (.627), on-base percentage (.432), runs (432), RBIs (402) and total bases (936). The Gators also set or tied nine single-game records, including hits (21 vs. South Carolina), runs scores (22 vs. North Florida), home runs (six, twice) and RBIs (22 vs. North Florida).
Head coach Tim Walton has recorded 40-win seasons every year of his five-year tenure at Florida. He increased his UF coaching record to 275-67 (.804) and his overall head coaching record to 398-131 (.752) in his eight years.
Freshman Brittany Schutte (Fountain Valley, Calif.) tallied her 19th home run of the season, her third in the Women’s College World Series. The 19 bombs ranked second in UF’s single-season record books.
Junior Stephanie Brombacher (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) pitched her second game of the day, going the full six innings. The righty (35-8) allowed eight hits, three runs and one walk. Her 35 wins on the year was third in UF record books, while her 12 shutouts ranked sixth, her 237 strikeouts seventh and her 81 strikeouts looking second.
“If you would have told me before the game started that it was going to be a 3-2 ball game with the offensive displays of both teams out of it, I probably would’ve not believed you,” Walton said. “I thought Stephanie really showed us a lot of heart today -- really went out and gutted it out for 13 innings today and did a great job. We didn’t play our best; we played our hardest. I thought we went out and fought pretty heavily to the end. It’s just one of those things, like we talked about two days ago, how hard it is to come back from the losers’ bracket. Anytime you’re eliminated it really hurts.”
Erin Arevalo (20-6) earned the win for the Bulldogs (50-12) as she came on in relief for starter Alison Owen. Arevalo pitched 2.2 innings, allowed two hits and striking out six without allowing a walk or run. Owen went 4.1 innings, allowed four hits, two runs, one walk and struck out two.
The last time UGA defeated UF was on April 14, 2006 when the Bulldogs took a doubleheader, 8-5 and 8-3, in Gainesville. Brombacher forced Georgia’s Megan Wiggins to go 0-for-2, ending her school-record, 22-game hit streak.
In a low-scoring game between the two power-hitting teams, Georgia was the first to get on the board. In the first inning, Taylor Schlopy drew a lead-off walk on a full count and with one down, Alisa Goler homered over the right-field wall to give the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead.
Schutte cut the lead to one in the fourth with a lead-off, solo shot to center, her third of the day.
Brombacher retired eight straight batters before Laura Trout reached on a bunt single in the fourth. Ashley Pauly singled to center and Trout headed for third, but sophomore Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) fired to senior third baseman Corrie Brooks (Christmas, Fla.) for the final out of the inning. It was Moultrie’s sixth outfield assist of the season and the second for the Gators on the day as junior right fielder Kelsey Bruder (Corona, Calif.) had one in the first game against Missouri.
The Gators tied the score in the fifth playing small ball. Brooks smacked a base hit to left and sophomore Lauren Heil (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) came in to pinch run. She moved around to third on two groundouts and scored on a wild pitch. Arevalo came in to relieve Owen with one down in the inning and the run was charged to the starter.
Georgia retook the lead in the bottom of the inning with two base hits. Megan Wiggins was hit by a pitch with one out and moved to second on a single by Goler. Brianna Hesson knocked one to right center to score Wiggins and advanced to second on the throw. With Ashley Razey at the plate, junior catcher Tiffany DeFelice (Coral Springs, Fla.) picked off Goler at third for the second out. It was the second time this season DeFelice has picked a runner off. Brombacher got Razey to fly out to end the inning.
Florida threatened to knot the game again in the top of the sixth, but Arevalo was able to get herself out of the jam before the Gators could plate the tying run. Bruder and Schutte hit back-to-back singles and senior Francesca Enea (Woodland Hills, Calif.) laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the two into scoring position. Arevalo got the next two Gators swinging to end the inning.
After a quick bottom of the sixth, the Gators returned to the plate. Arevalo quickly ended the game on three swinging strikeouts.
“To end the careers of two players, we wouldn’t have been here without those two,” Walton said of departing players Enea and Brooks. “Francesca and Corrie have done just a phenomenal job with what we were talking about in the early going. They’ve been to the College World Series three times, four Super Regional appearances, two SEC championships, two tournament championships and more wins than anybody else that’s suited up in this uniform. I’m really proud of those two; sad for those two as well. I’m very, very happy with their effort.”