Saturday February 19, 2011Four Home Runs Lead No. 5 Gator Softball to Pair of Shutouts Saturday
The No. 5 University of Florida softball team blanked No. 22 North Carolina, 3-0 and 9-0, in a doubleheader to open the 2011 home season in front of a crowd of 2,129 at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium Saturday afternoon, tallying its first victories over a ranked opponent this season. Senior Megan Bush (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) came up big for the Gators (8-0, 0-0 SEC), going 2-for-4 on the day with a two-run homer in the first game and added another run and RBI in the second. Sophomore Kelsey Horton (Valrico, Fla.) dropped a three-run bomb in the second game to aid in the 9-0, five inning victory. Florida's four home runs Saturday bring their season total to 19, while the Gators have shut out six of eight opponents so far in 2011.
Senior pitcher Stephanie Brombacher (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) earned the win in the first game against the Tar Heels, starting her year at home with a perfect 5-0 record. In seven innings of work, the righty tallied seven strikeouts while allowing only five hits, no runs and one walk. In 26.0 innings of work this season, the ace has yet to allow a run, while striking out 34, walking just four and yielding 10 hits. Newcomer Hannah Rogers (Winter Park, Fla.) tallied the win in the second game, her third victory of the season. The freshman righty remained hitless for 4.1 innings, had one strikeout and did not walk any of the 17 batters she faced.
North Carolina pitcher Lori Spingola suffered the loss in the first game, dropping to 4-2 by allowing five hits, three runs and three walks, while striking out three. Sarah Buchholz tallied her first loss of the season in the second game by giving up four hits, five runs and one walk.
To start the home season off with a bang, lead-off hitter junior Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) belted a home run over the right-field fence to give the Gators the early lead in the first.
The Gator defense kept the Tar Heels hitless until the top of the third, when Dani Manko singled to center and Chelsey Butler followed up with a single to left with one out. Brombacher responded by catching the next two batters swinging, retiring the side and keeping North Carolina scoreless.
Florida’s final two runs of the rubber match came in the fourth with a two-run bomb by Bush. Sophomore Brittany Schutte (Fountain Valley, Calif.) drew a walk to put her on base, allowing Bush to come up to the plate and smack one over the center-field fence, securing the 3-0 victory.
Florida responded from the first-game defensive battle to defeat the Tar Heels in a definitive 9-0 victory in the second game Saturday.
The first inning started off slow for both teams, but Florida brought the heat in the second, scoring seven runs. The action started when Schutte was hit by a pitch and Bush drew a walk. Freshman Cheyenne Coyle (West Hills, Calif.) hit a double during her chance at the plate, bringing Schutte home and putting Bush in scoring position. Horton then scored both base runners when she hit her second home run of the season, this one to left center for the 4-0 lead. After classmate Samantha Holle (Tampa, Fla.) singled, Buchholz was chased from the game and was replaced by Ashley Bone, but the Gators continued the barrage as a bunt by freshman Kasey Fagan (Dunnellon, Fla.), followed by two fielding errors, lead to Holle scoring and Fagan advancing to third. Moultrie laid down a sac bunt to score Fagan and senior Aja Pacula (Wildomar, Calif.) finished the inning with a solo home run for the 7-0 lead the Gators wouldn’t relinquish.
The Gators added one more run in each of the two final stanzas. In the bottom of the third, Coyle drew a walk, advanced on a single by Holle and scored on a single by Fagan. Senior Kelsey Bruder (Corona, Calif.) tallied the ninth and final run for the Gators when she drew a walk, advanced on a single by Schutte and scored on a sac fly by Bush.
Florida and North Carolina return to action Sunday, Feb. 20, at 1pm for the third and final game of the series at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. With the home opening weekends for Florida’s nationally ranked lacrosse and softball teams, as well as the sixth annual Five Points of Life Race Weekend, there are special parking arrangements for Gator fans looking to attend the athletic events on Sunday, February 20th.
Fans are asked to park in the Harn Museum of Art parking lot by turning onto Hull Rd from 34th St. Drive east on Hull and turn into the Harn Museum of Art parking lot on the right. There will be areas in the flat lot cornered off for finishing race participants and medical personnel but there will be an area directly to the right after entering the lot that is available for Gator lacrosse and softball fans.
Additional parking will be available in the garage located in the PAC (Performing Arts Center) lot but it is necessary to drive around the back of the garage in order to avoid the Five Points of Life finish line and the Main Medical tent.
Gator fans are advised to arrive early in order to secure a parking spot and attend their events on time. Please follow all signs and officers’ instructions.