Saturday April 9, 2011Bush Matches SEC Career Home Run Record, Gators Take Series With 8-1 Triumph Over Arkansas
Senior Megan Bush (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) matched the Southeastern Conference’s career home run record of 61 after connecting on her 17th round-tripper this season to propel the No. 10 University of Florida softball team to an 8-1 defeat over the Arkansas Razorbacks at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium Saturday afternoon to clinch the series. Junior Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.), and seniors Aja Paculba (Wildomar, Calif.), Kelsey Bruder (Corona, Calif.) and Bush all registered two-hit games for the Gators (32-7, 9-6 SEC).
Florida hurler Hannah Rogers (Lake Wales, Fla.) improved to 18-5 while recording her 17th complete game of the season. The freshman righthander went the full seven innings, punching out a career-high 12 batters while conceding five hits and a single run in the first inning without walking a batter. This was the second consecutive seven-inning complete game from Rogers in which she did not walk a batter and marks the sixth time this season she has gone seven without giving up a free pass. Kim Jones (2-12) took the loss for Arkansas, pitching five innings and allowing seven runs (five earned) on seven hits while issuing two walks.
Arkansas got on the board first, using a leadoff double from Becca Carden and then an RBI single two batters later from Courtney Breault to open the scoring. The Gators answered in the bottom of the frame, stringing together four hits that resulted in three runs. Leadoff hitter Moultrie was the catalyst with a line single to left field. Second baseman Paculba drew a five-pitch walk and fellow senior Bruder knotted the game with a single to right field, although Paculba was thrown out trying to advance to third. Brittany Schutte (Fountain Valley, Calif.) next stepped to the dish and delivered an RBI triple that ricocheted off the top of the right field wall to give Florida its first lead of the game at 2-1. First baseman Bush followed with a liner up the middle that caromed off the leg of Razorback pitcher Kim Jones for an infield single that plated the third run for the Orange and Blue.
After being given the lead, Rogers produced a rare four-strikeout inning. After fanning the first two batters, she induced a swinging strike three on Arkansas’ Jessica Robison but the ball scooted by catcher Tiffany DeFelice (Coral Springs, Fla.) allowing Robison to reach first. After an allowing an infield single, the freshman righty struck out her fourth Razorback of the inning to end the threat.
Florida added another run in the bottom half of the second, using some small ball. With one down, Kasey Fagan (Dunnellon, Fla.) dropped a bunt to the third base side and legged it out. Moultrie executed a sacrifice bunt to move Fagan to second and Paculba came through with a two-out single to increase Florida’s lead to 4-1.
With a three-run cushion to work with, Rogers set down six consecutive batters, with two coming via strikeout and another on a sparkling diving catch from Bruder, who ranged to her right in foul territory and laid out to snare the ball, before conceding a bloop single to Chloe Oprzedek in the top of the fifth.
Florida was opportunistic in manufacturing a run in the home half of the fourth inning. Fagan reached on an error by Arkansas shortstop Oprzedek and subsequently, swiped her 11th base of the season. Moultrie earned a base on balls and after a Paculba infield single, Bruder plated Florida’s fourth run of the contest with a sacrifice fly to straightaway center field.
UF tacked on two runs in the fifth, starting with a towering first-pitch solo home run to left field by Bush. Bush’s 17th long ball of the season matched former Gator Francesca Enea’s SEC record for career home runs of 61 while putting the Gators in front 6-1. With one out, freshman Cheyenne Coyle (West Hills, Calif.) hit an infield single to shortstop. Sophomore Ensley Gammel (Bakersfield, Calif.) reached on an error and two batters later, Moultrie sent a line drive that landed just in front of Arkansas centerfielder Carden’s glove, scoring Coyle from second without a throw.
The Gators completed the scoring in the bottom of the sixth. Bruder sent a ground ball into the gap in right-center for a two-bagger. She advanced to third on a wild pitch from Arkansas reliever Chelsea Cohen and a sacrifice fly to center field from Schutte brought Bruder across for the final margin of 8-1.
The series finale from Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium kicks off with the first pitch at 1 p.m. Gator fans can follow the third game of the Arkansas-Florida match-up online at www.GatorZone.com for live video and online stats. Local Gator fans can tune in on the radio to WYGC-FM 104.9, ‘105 The Game’, with the call by Adam Schick and Kristina Hilberth.