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Photo courtesy of Dwain Linden

Saturday February 26, 2011No. 4/5 Florida Softball Defeats No. 2/2 UCLA and San Diego State Friday


Photo courtesy of Dwain Linden

Florida used a four-run sixth inning rally Friday to upset the No. 2/2 UCLA Bruins, 4-1, on the second day of the Cathedral City Classic in Palm Springs, Calif., after defeating San Diego State University, 4-2, just a half hour before. The fourth-ranked Gators improved to 13-0 on the season, moving to 3-0 all-time versus the Aztecs (5-6) and narrowing the series with the defending national champion Bruins, 2-3, as UCLA chalked up its second loss of 2011 (10-2).

Freshman righty Hannah Rogers (Lake Wales, Fla.) and senior ace Stephanie Brombacher (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) both recorded victories on the afternoon, Brombacher against SDSU and Rogers against UCLA. Brombacher started the Gators off with 5.1 innings against the Aztecs, tallying her seventh win of the season. The righty retired three SDSU batters by strikeout, gave up five hits and just two runs. Rogers came on for 1.2 innings of scoreless relief, allowing two hits, but no runs, while striking out two.

Rogers (6-0) then turned around and threw a complete game against second-ranked UCLA, adding 10 more Ks, just shy of her career-high 11. Rogers gave up just five hits and one run, an Alyssa Tiumalu solo home run over the left-field fence at the bottom of the second, and had zero walks.

Senior Kelsey Bruder (Corona, Calif.) went 4-for-7 (.667) on the day with three RBI and a walk, while fellow senior Aja Paculba (Wildomar, Calif.) and junior Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) rallied in a big way for the Orange and Blue against San Diego State and UCLA. Paculba finished 4-for-7 (.571) with two runs and two RBI against UF’s two opponents, while Moultrie turned in 4-for-8 (.500), three runs and two RBI.

After five scoreless UF innings, freshman Cheyenne Coyle (West Hills, Calif.), hitting in the eight spot, started the four-run, five-hit Florida rally in the sixth against UCLA, leading off with a hard-hit single through the left side, bringing up fellow first-year Kasey Fagan (Dunnellon, Fla.). Fagan laid down a sacrifice bunt, but reached first on a UCLA fielding error by freshman pitcher Jessica Hall (6-2), advancing Coyle to scoring position at second. Next up at the top of the Gator lineup, Moultrie ripped a double to left field, scoring both Coyle and Fagan, setting up another double, this time from Paculba, who drove in Moultrie. Paculba lit up the base paths, stealing third with Bruder at the plate. Bruder, feeding off the momentum, singled to center field, scoring Paculba and bringing up senior Megan Bush (Anaheim Hills, Calif.). Bush continued the trend with a hit of her own to advance Bruder, but a Tiffany DeFelice (Coral Springs, Fla.) pop up to short stop and an Ensley Gammel’s (Bakersfield, Calif.) fielder’s choice, followed by a toss from second to short saw Bush eliminated for the final out of the inning.

Two of UCLA’s five hits on the day came in the final two innings, but Rogers struck out two Bruin batters, GiOnna DiSalvatore and Hall, in the sixth and seventh innings, respectively, to halt any potential scoring opportunities. The Gator defense eliminated a possible runner in scoring position when DeFelice and Coyle teamed up to catch B.B. Bates attempting to steal second at the bottom of the sixth frame, sealing the deal for UF, which tallied its fifth win over a ranked opponent this season following a sweep of then-No. 22 UNC and No. 11/12 Texas in the Thursday night cap.

Earlier Friday, the Gators played a hard-fought match-up with the Aztecs, tallying eight hits to SDSU’s seven. The Aztecs struck first in the first inning off two hits, a Jessica Camello single and Kamerin May double that drove in Camello.

It wasn’t until the fourth inning that the Gators responded with a run of their own when Moultrie, Paculba and Bruder all singled to kick off the inning for the Orange and Blue, resulting in a Moultrie run following Bruder’s blooper to right field. Florida tacked on two more runs at the top of the sixth with production from the top of the batting lineup, yet again. Moultrie scored on a Bruder single up the middle after reaching with a base hit of her own, while Paculba, who reached on a single to left field, scored on a Bush sacrifice fly.

The Aztecs put up their second and final run at the bottom of the sixth when Devin Gray, a pinch runner for May, scored following a Justeen Maeva single to right field to bring the Aztecs within one run, 3-2. Florida extended its lead by a run at the top of the seventh, scoring Fagan, who reached on a fielder’s choice, after a hard-hit Paculba extra-base hit up the middle, resulting in the eventual 4-2 final.

Rogers faced four Aztec batters in the bottom of the seventh, but maintained focus, tallying one strikeout and two straight ground outs to close out the inning for a Florida victory despite a leadoff base hit by Eva Sahatdjian.

Florida plays its fifth and final game of the 2011 Cathedral City Classic Saturday when it takes on the team from Utah at 10:30 a.m. (PST). UF is 1-1 all-time against The Utes and will be looking for its second tournament sweep of the 2011 season after winning all five games at the season-opening USF Wilson DeMarini Tournament in Clearwater, Fla.


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