Wednesday April 13, 2011No. 10 Florida Softball Tops FIU, 8-0, in Six Innings Wednesday
Sophomore Sam Holle (Tampa, Fla.) knocked a two-run homer to left center to give the Gator softball squad their final two runs, enforcing the run rule and downing FIU, 8-0, in six innings Wednesday at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. Florida (34-7, 10-6 SEC) put up one run each in the first and second, four in the fourth and two in the sixth to serve the Panthers their 21st loss of the season. Senior Tiffany DeFelice (Coral Springs, Fla.) connected on a solo shot to left field in the second, accounting for one of UF’s two homers on the day and senior Aja Paculba (Wildomar, Calif.) smoked a three-RBI double down the left-field line for three of UF’s four runs in the fourth inning.
Freshman Hannah Rogers (Lake Wales, Fla.) tossed her 20th victory of the season for the Orange and Blue, a two-hitter, working the full 6.0 and fanning nine Panthers in the shutout. Mariah Dawson chalked up the loss for FIU (23-21), giving up UF’s first three runs in 3.0 innings, while Jenn Gniadek threw the final 2.0 for the Panthers, allowing five Gator runs on four hits. The FIU duo collaborated for just four strikeouts, while walking four UF players.
In the first frame, junior Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) laid down a bunt single, then proceeded to steal second. Moultrie then advanced to third on a Paculba flyout, enabling a Kelsey Bruder (Corona, Calif.) walk and stolen base. A Panther defensive miscue on Bruder’s stolen base allowed Moultrie to scamper home for UF’s first run of the game.
FIU connected for one of its two base hits in the second on a Rachel Slowik blooper to center following a Kayla Burri walk to place runners on first and second for the Panthers, but Rogers caught both Jenny Welch and Jackie Tetlow swinging to get out of the inning.
The leadoff batter in the third, DeFelice connected on just her second homer of the season, 19th of her career, a bomb to left field on a 3-1 count, for the Gators’ second run of the game. A scoreless, hitless third stanza four both squads brought up the fourth inning. In the top half, FIU’s Ashley McClain knocked a lead-off single to center for the Panthers’ second and final hit of the game, but a fly out, ground out and strikeout for Rogers brought up the bottom of the fourth for the Orange and Blue.
Senior Megan Bush (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) led off the fourth for UF with a single to center field, bringing in junior Ellie Langley (Spring Hill, Fla.) to pinch run and also chasing Dawson from the circle in favor of Gniadek for the Panthers. Gniadek walked the Gators’ next two batters, DeFelice and freshman Cheyenne Coyle (West Hills, Calif.), to load the bags, setting up Horton’s hard-hit RBI single to left field that plated Langley. Next up, freshman Kasey Fagan (Dunnellon, Fla.) reached on a fielder’s choice to third base, while DeFelice was eliminated on the play at home to halt the UF run. Following a Moultrie fly out, Paculba came up to bat, smoking her team-leading 12th double down the left field line to clear the bases, bringing home Coyle, Fagan and Horton to take Florida up, 6-0.
The Panthers stranded one on base in the fifth following a hit-by-pitch, but both teams remained hitless and scoreless in the fifth frame. Three-consecutive groundouts for Rogers and the Gators in the top of the sixth brought up the bottom half of the inning, allowing UF to put the game away. Coyle led off with a single through the left side on a 1-2 count, bringing up the pinch hitter, Holle, for Horton. Holle hit her second long ball of the season, fourth of her career, over left center, nailing the scoreboard and scoring Coyle and herself to end the game, 8-0, in favor of the Gators with no outs on the board.
Florida will head to No. 24/25 Auburn for a three-game road swing April 15-17. Florida holds a 24-16 advantage over the Tigers all-time and is 8-10 on the road on Auburn’s turf. The 10th-ranked Gators have swept the past three series against AU and have lost just two games against Auburn under head coach Tim Walton, the last being April 15, 2007, when AU took one from UF in the second game of the series at Auburn. The Tigers are 32-9 on the season and 11-6 overall in Southeastern Conference play so far in 2011.Gator fans can follow on the radio locally at WYGC-104.9, ‘105 The Game’ with Adam Schick calling the action and keep up online with live stats on Gametracker. All links and information can be found at www.GatorZone.com/softball, while complete stats and a recap will be available following the action.