Sunday April 3, 2011No. 5 Florida Softball Drops 9-2 Series Finale at No. 23 Kentucky
A resilient fifth-inning for the No. 5 Gators, who added two runs at the top of the frame to prevent a five-inning run-rule situation, gave Florida two extra innings to work, but the Wildcats prevailed, 9-2, in seven for the series sweep. The Orange and Blue moved to 30-7, 7-6 in the league play at the UK Softball Complex Sunday, while No. 23 Kentucky improved to 25-7, 11-3 in the SEC in front of a home crowd of 1,150.
Florida was led in the final game of the series by junior Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.), who finished 2-for-4 with two bunt singles and one run scored. Two freshmen tossed for each squad Sunday in the circle as Lauren Cumbess worked the first 5.0 for UK, while Hannah Rogers (Lake Wales, Fla.) was in the circle the full 6.0 for Florida. Cumbess (3-1) allowed four hits and both Gator runs, while Rogers (16-5) gave up all nine UK runs on seven hits, while fanning four. Chanda Bell came on for 2.0 innings of one-hit scoreless relief for the Wildcats, downing three by strikeout.
A Kelsey Bruder (Corona, Calif.) two-out base hit to left field started the contest for the Gators, but a Lauren Cumbess strikeout halted any potential scoring opportunities in the first for the Orange and Blue.
Kentucky quickly put up eight runs in the first, started by a Meagan Aull solo long ball to left field off the foul pole to give UK a one-run lead. Seven more runs crossed home, one on a Cumbess fielder’s choice with bases loaded that allowed a run to score, followed by an Annie Rowlands groundout that brought Cumbess home. Emily Jolly turned the UK lineup over with a two RBI single to center field and Aull followed with a two RBI homer to left center, her second of the inning, to score the seventh and eighth Cat runs. A groundout to short stop ended the inning and the scoring barrage for UK.
The Wildcats added another run in the bottom of the fourth to stamp a nine-run lead over Florida, threatening the run-rule, but the Gators’ offense swung into gear at the top of the fifth to keep the game alive with two runs of their own. Sophomore Samantha Holle (Tampa, Fla.) tallied UF’s second hit of the game, a base hit to left field at the top of the stanza, leading to a lineup turnover for the Orange and Blue that allowed Moultrie to lay down a bunt for a base hit. Senior Aja Paculba (Wildomar, Calif.) followed up, smoking a double down the left-field line to drive in two, Holle and Paculba, narrowing the margin, 9-2. Senior Megan Bush (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) lined out to short to end the inning for UF.
Senior Tiffany DeFelice (Coral Springs, Fla.) showed up with stellar defense in the bottom of the fifth for the Orange and Blue with a pick off at first to tally the second out of the inning, while Rogers followed with a groundout to end the bottom of the frame. DeFelice’s pick off marked the first since she caught a runner at first against Georgia in the Women’s College World Series June 5, 2010.
A scoreless sixth for both teams brought up the top of the seventh for the visiting Gators, and despite a bunt single by Moultrie, followed by a stolen base, and a walk from Bruder, Bell closed out the inning to solidify the win for Kentucky.
The Wildcats earned just their second series win all-time against the Gators, their first-ever series sweep. The Gators gave up back-to-back series sweeps for the first time since 2005, when UF dropped a three-game stint at Auburn April 26-27, followed by a sweep at home from LSU April 30-May1.
Florida will enjoy a free mid-week and return to the friendly confines of Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium April 8-10 for a conference series with Arkansas from the SEC Western Division. First pitch is set for 5 p.m., 4 p.m. and 1 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, respectively. Gator fans can follow the series a number of different ways, including live stats online through Gametracker, on the radio at 105 ‘The Game’, or by watching the live video feed, provided by GatorVision. For all information, recaps and stats, visit www.GatorZone.com/softball.