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Saturday April 2, 2011Fourth Inning Rally Falls Short as No. 5 Gator Softball Falls, 7-6, to No. 23 Kentucky Saturday

Lexington, Ky.

Florida scored one run in the third and five in the top of the fourth to lead UK, 6-3, after three Wildcat runs in the first, but Kentucky strung together a four-run fourth frame themselves to go ahead, 7-6, a lead the Cats wouldn’t relinquish, as neither team crossed home in the fifth, sixth or seventh innings. The Wildcats (24-7, 10-3 SEC) clinched the series Saturday at the UK Softball Complex in front of a crowd of 1,166. Senior catcher Tiffany DeFelice (Coral Springs, Fla.) was 2-for-3 on the day to lead Florida (30-6, 7-5 SEC), while fellow classmate Aja Paculba (Wildomar, Calif.) knocked her 11th homer of the season over the right-field fence, a three-run success in the fifth. Likewise, sophomore Samantha Holle (Tampa, Fla.) came through in the clutch as a pinch hitter with bases loaded for a two RBI double to left center for the first two Florida runs in the fifth inning.

 

While the Gators saw Ellen Weaver for 3.1 innings, as the freshman gave up six runs on six hits, while also striking out six, the junior Rachel Riley earned the victory for UK in 3.2 innings of one-hit, scoreless relief as Riley fanned four and was the pitcher of record when UK regained the lead from the Gators in the fourth.

 

Righty Hannah Rogers (Lake Wales, Fla.) tallied the loss for the Orange and Blue, moving to 16-4 on the season after allowing all seven UK runs, six of them earned, off nine hits in 6.0 innings of work. The freshman downed five by way of strikeout.

 

Two homers laced a three-run, three hit first inning for the Wildcats, as a first-pitch solo shot from Meagan Aull got UK on the board in the bottom of the first frame. Brittany Cervantes followed with a two-run bomb to left-center to take UK up, 3-0, with one out, but Rogers followed with two Ks to get out of the inning and bring up the second for Florida. Sophomore Kelsey Horton (Valrico, Fla.) reached base on a dropped strikeout and senior Tiffany DeFelice (Coral Springs, Fla.) followed with a hard-hit single to put runners on first and second, but a groundout ended the inning with two runners on for the Gators.

 

Rogers and the Florida defense held UK scoreless in the second, rallying for a pop out and two bunt ground outs, while allowing just one Cat hit, to bring up the third where the Gators put up their first run of the game. With the top of the lineup up, junior Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) drew a walk and followed by stealing second. Two Weaver strikeouts ensued, but senior Megan Bush (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) knocked a RBI single to left field to bring Moultrie home from second to narrow the Kentucky margin, 3-1.

 

Rogers fanned two in bottom of the third frame, walked one, while a groundout ended the home team’s third inning to bring up a clutch five-run fourth for the Orange and Blue. The Gators used five runs on three hits to go ahead, 6-3, at the top of the fourth. For her second at-bat in the game, Horton again reached on a dropped third strike to start the Gators off with a runner on first and Horton’s pinch runner, junior Ashley Snedeker (Bloomington, Minn.) took second on a Weaver wild pitch. Up next, DeFelice reached on a fielder’s choice to the third baseman to load the bags for Holle, pinch hitting for freshman Kasey Fagan (Dunnellon, Fla.). Holle came through in the clutch with her two RBI double to left center to turn over the UF lineup, as Fagan re-entered to run. Moultrie reached second on a fielder’s choice and advanced on the throw as Fagan took third and DeFelice was caught in a run-down on the third-base side as the UK first baseman connected with the catcher to stop the score, and the catcher tossed to the third baseman for the tag. Paculba capitalized on two runners in scoring position with her three-run long ball to take the Orange and Blue up, 6-3, and chase Weaver from the circle. Riley followed with a groundout and a strikeout to finish the inning.

 

UK countered, adding four runs to its tally in the bottom of the fourth to go up, 7-6, the eventual final, following an Aull double that knocked in one run, a Cervantes single that brought two runs across the plate and a Samantha DeMartine RBI single that brought the final run across the plate.

 

Florida’s five-game losing streak marks the longest since a seven-game string from April 24 – May 1, 2005. Florida additionally dropped back-to-back three-game conference series for the first time since 2007 when UF dropped two out of three against Tennessee followed by a series sweep at LSU (faced Alabama and split in a mid-week doubleheader between the two three-game series).          

 

The third and final game of the series from the UK Softball Complex will start at 1 p.m. (ET) Sunday. Gator fans can tune in to 105 ‘The Game’ locally or follow Gametracker for live stats online. For complete recaps and final statistics, visit www.GatorZone.com.

 

 

 

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