Sunday March 6, 2011Five Homers Lead No. 2/3 Gator Softball Over NDSU; UF Claims Lipton Invitational
Florida used five homers, including two in the first inning and three in the fourth, to defeat North Dakota State, 9-0, in five innings Sunday. The second-ranked Gators improved to 19-0 on the season, tying the best start in program history. UF also took the 2011 Lipton Invitational title, going 5-0 in the three-day tournament at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium with two wins over NDSU and victories over Valparaiso, Syracuse and Pacific. The Orange and Blue put up 52 runs over the weekend, including 14 home runs – three by senior Aja Paculba (Wildomar, Calif.) and four by sophomore Brittany Schutte (Fountain Valley, Calif.).
Paculba led the Gators Friday through Sunday, going 9-for-17 (.529) with six RBI, eight runs and 20 total bases to compliment her three homers. Schutte smacked four home runs in all, tallying 14 RBI and 10 runs, while going 5-for-12 (.417) at the plate.
Senior ace Stephanie Brombacher (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) tallied three of the five wins with 20 Ks in 14.2 innings of work, yielding four hits, one run and two walks. Freshman Hannah Rogers (Lake Wales, Fla.) (8-0) picked up the Gators’ other two wins, going 13.0 innings, allowing just two runs, three walks and seven hits, while striking out 14.
For the second time in as many days, UF shut out North Dakota State behind the righty, Brombacher, who improved to 11-0 with the win Sunday following 4.0 innings of work. Sophomore Ensley Gammel (Bakersfield, Calif.) pitched one inning of scoreless relief, striking out one batter. Florida allowed just one hit on the day, a blooper that fell in the 5-6 gap by NDSU’s Rivera, the first batter of the game.
A day after earning a program-high 18 walks against the Bison, Florida again capitalized on six Sunday, the first drawn by junior Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) in the first inning, followed by a Paculba two-run bomb over the center-field fence. Next up, senior Kelsey Bruder (Corona, Calif.) drew a walk, setting up a Schutte two-run homer to left field, giving the Gators four immediate runs to go up, 4-0, following the first, while chasing NDSU starting pitcher Whitney Johnson from the circle with no outs, and bringing up Randi Parks.
Florida put one run on the board in the bottom of the third on a double-steal by freshman Cheyenne Coyle (West Hills, Calif.) and sophomore Samantha Holle (Tampa, Fla.) after Holle reached third on a fielding error by the NDSU centerfielder and Coyle walked. With runners on first and third, Holle stole home and Coyle took second with Fagan at the plate. A Fagan walk, followed by a Moultrie strikeout ended the inning with UF up, 5-0, but Florida added four more runs in the fourth to enforce the run rule for a second time against the Bison following the fifth.
Paculba led off a huge fourth inning for the Gators with her second home run of the day, this time to left field, while Bruder stepped to the plate for back-to-back bombs, sending a long ball out over the center-field fence for her fifth home run of the season. A Schutte walk, her eighth of the weekend and 19th of the season, set up a senior Megan Bush (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) shot to center, her sixth bomb of the season, to take Florida up 9-0, a lead the Gators wouldn’t relinquish.
The sophomore righty Johnson (3-5) started the game for the Bison, but allowed two hits, four runs off two two-run homers, and walked two with no outs in the first to shoulder the loss for NDSU, which moved to 7-13 on the season. Parks took over with no outs in the first and finished with 4.0 innings, while allowing five hits, five runs, walking four and tallying three Ks.
Syracuse (16-3) went 4-1 at the Lipton Invitational, falling to just the Gators Friday evening. Complete Lipton Invitational results:
FRIDAY, MARCH 4
Valparaiso 8, North Dakota State 0
North Dakota State 5, Gardner-Webb 2
Pacific 5, Gardner-Webb 3
Florida 13, Valparaiso 4
Florida 2, Syracuse 0
Syracuse 4, Pacific 0
SATURDAY, MARCH 5
Valparaiso 4, Gardner-Webb 1
Pacific 7, Valparaiso 1
Florida 18, NDSU 0
Florida 10, Pacific 2
Syracuse 15, Gardner-Webb 0
Syracuse 3, NDSU 0
SUNDAY, MARCH 6
Syracuse 6, Valparaiso 0
Florida 9, NDSU 0
The Gators will kick off the SEC season Wednesday with a double-header at No. 16/21 LSU in Baton Rouge. Gator fans can catch the game stream live through GatorVision.tv or on 105 The Game, with the call by Adam Schick. Florida will then head directly to Tampa for its fourth and final tournament of the season, the USF Under Armour Showcase, where the Gators will match up with UConn, Robert Morris, Ball State, Nebraska and a second tilt with USF in the three-day tourney from Clearwater’s Eddie C. Moore Complex.