Wednesday February 16, 2011No. 5 Florida Softball Downs Jacksonville, 7-0
Senior Aja Paculba (Wildomar, Calif.) fueled a Gator rally in the bottom of the fifth inning, crushing UF’s third grand slam of the season over the center-field fence for what would be the final four Florida runs as the No. 5 Gators rallied for a 7-0 shutout at Jacksonville University Wednesday evening. The Gators tallied their sixth win of the season, as JU fell to 2-3 at home at the JU Softball Complex.
Senior righty Stephanie Brombacher (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) tallied the win for Florida, improving to 4-0 on the season, with her eighth career one-hitter in five innings of work against the Dolphins. Brombacher recorded eight strikeouts, including six against the last eight batters she faced and three straight in the top of the fourth inning, while walking just one.
Freshman Hannah Rogers (Lake Wales, Fla.) came on for two innings of relief, her third appearance for the Gators her inaugural season donning the Orange and Blue. Rogers retired all six batters she faced, including one by strikeout at the top of the sixth.
Florida battled at the plate, drawing 11 walks in all against the Dolphins – the second-most in a game in UF history – capitalizing on a bases-loaded situation in the third inning. With two outs, Gators Kelsey Bruder (Corona, Calif.) and Brittany Schutte (Fountain Valley, Calif.) both drew walks and then advanced to third and second, respectively, on a Brittany Eppley wild pitch. Next up, senior Megan Bush (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) was walked on a full count, setting up bases loaded for freshman Cheyenne Coyle (West Hills, Calif.). Coyle delivered, also drawing the walk on a full count, scoring Bruder for the Gators’ first run of the game.
After the bottom of the third for Jacksonville, when Jacey Warner tallied JU’s lone hit of the night on a double to left field, Florida continued its aggressive at-bats, starting off with an Ensley Gammel (Bakersfield, Calif.) walk to kick off the top half of the fourth for UF. Following a Kasey Fagan (Dunnellon, Fla.) single, junior Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) hit a single to right center for the home-town crowd, bringing Gammel home for the 2-0 advantage after the fourth, setting up the powerful Florida fifth in which Paculba shined.
Prior to Paculba’s grand slam, a Coyle single and Tiffany DeFelice (Coral Springs, Fla.) sacrifice bunt preceded another Gammel walk. Production at the bottom of the Gator lineup continued as Fagan struck again with a single that set up bases loaded, yet again. At the top of the batting order, Moultrie walked for the second time Wednesday evening, resulting in a RBI that brought Coyle across home, and setting up Paculba’s third home run of the 2011 season, sealing the deal for the Gators in Jacksonville with the final 7-0 margin.
Eppley fell to 0-2 this season, recording the loss for the Dolphins after giving up two runs and walking six in a detrimental third inning for Jacksonville.
The Gators will host No. 22 UNC this weekend in their season home-opener at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. The Gators and Tarheels will play a doubleheader Saturday, beginning and 1 p.m., with the second game slated for approximately 3 p.m. The match-up Sunday will kick off at 1 p.m.
With the busy Gator athletics weekend, stay posted to www.GatorZone.com in the coming days for parking information.