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Saturday February 26, 2011Florida Softball Improves to 14-0 With 7-3 Victory Over Utah

PALM SPRINGS, Calif.

Off to the second-best start in program history, the No. 4/5 UF softball team wrapped up its stint at the Cathedral City Classic with a 7-3 victory over Utah Saturday to improve to 14-0 on the season. The Gators were 5-0 on the weekend, defeating Indiana, No. 11/12 Texas, San Diego State, No. 2/2 UCLA and Utah in the three-day tournament at the Big League Dreams Complex in Palm Springs.

 

Junior Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) and senior Aja Paculba (Wildomar, Fla.) led the Gators in California, Moultrie going 10-for-17 (.588), including three triples and a double with nine RBI, five runs and 17 total bases, while drawing three walks. Paculba checked in at 9-for-18 (.500), ripping two doubles, tallying four RBI and drawing two walks.

 

Through the first 14 games of the season, Florida has put up 110 runs to opponents’ 14, while dropping 22 home runs, including a Megan Bush (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) solo shot to left field against Utah, compared to just three from Gator opponents.

 

Bush’s solo homer counted as UF’s first run of the day at the bottom of the fourth, evening the score after the Utes got on the board first in the top half of the fourth inning. The Gators put up one run in the fourth, two in the fifth and four in the sixth to fend off Utah, which tallied three runs on the day with one each in the fourth, fifth and seventh innings.

 

Gator senior Stephanie Brombacher (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) chalked up the win for the Orange and Blue, improving to 8-0 after 6.2 innings of work. The right-handed ace allowed three runs, two earned, on six hits, while striking out three. After four walks at the top of the seventh, which allowed the third and final Utah run of the game, freshman righty Hannah Rogers (Lake Wales, Fla.) came on in relief for the final out of the inning, earning her first career save and striking out Utah’s Sweet swinging. Rogers chalked up three big wins for the Gators in Palm Springs, earning victories over Indiana, No. 11/12 Texas and No. 2/2 UCLA. Rogers struck out 22 on the weekend in 16.2 innings of work, allowed just one run on nine hits and walked just three.

 

Following Bush’s home run in the fourth, the Utes took the 2-1 lead with a one-run fifth, but UF was quick to respond with two runs of its own at the bottom half of the fifth inning. Pinch runner Ensley Gammel (Bakersfield, Calif.), running for sophomore Samantha Holle (Tampa, Fla.), who reached on a single to left field, scored after a Tiffany DeFelice (Coral Springs, Fla.) sacrifice bunt that advanced her to third and a hard-hit Moultrie triple down the right line. Moultrie scored the second run of the fifth after a Paculba single to give UF a 3-2 advantage.

 

The Gators held the Utes scoreless in the top half of the sixth, but poured it on in the bottom of the inning with four runs. Bush kicked off the sixth with a walk, followed by a Schutte fielder’s choice and defensive error, then a Cheyenne Coyle (West Hills, Calif.) fielder’s choice that eliminated Ellie Langley (Spring Hill, Fla.), running for Bush. With runners on first and second, a Gammel groundout advanced both, setting up a run for pinch hitter Kelsey Horton (Valrico, Fla.), who singled to drive in Schutte and advance Coyle to third. Horton’s pinch runner, Ashley Snedeker (Bloomington, Minn.), then stole second, allowing freshman Kasey Fagan (Dunnellon, Fla.) to drive in Coyle following a base hit of her own. Fagan proceeded to light up the base paths, stealing second to place two runners in scoring position, yet again. Moultrie, up to bat at the top of the UF lineup, came up big for the Orange and Blue, delivering a triple to the left-center fence to bring in both Snedeker and Fagan, extending the Florida lead, 7-2, into the top of the seventh, when the Utes capitalized on the four Brombacher walks of the game, resulting in a 7-3 final.

 

The Gators will be idle through the next week before hosting their home tournament, the Lipton Invitational, March 4-6. UF will welcome Valparaiso, Syracuse, North Dakota State, Pacific and Gardner-Webb for the three-day tournament at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. Visit www.GatorZone.com for information regarding the tournament in the coming days.

 

FLORIDA CATHEDRAL CITY CLASSIC SCORES

Feb. 24

Florida 7, Indiana 0

Florida 6, No. 11/12 Texas 5

 

Feb. 25

Florida 4, SDSU 2

Florida 4, No. 2/2 UCLA 1

 

Feb. 26

Florida 7, Utah 3

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