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Friday April 22, 2011Gators and Tide Collide in SEC Showdown April 22-24 in Gainesville

Gainesville, Fla.

The No. 8/9 Gator softball team will clash with No. 3/4 Alabama this weekend in a three-game series at home in Gainesville at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium, beginning at 5 p.m. Friday, where admission is free. Not only a crucial match-up in the scope of the Southeastern Conference, Florida will pair the series with its Cancer Awareness Weekend, highlighted by the Swinging for the Cure Home Run Derby Saturday following the 4 p.m. tilt between the Gators and Tide, who lead the SEC Western Division.

Florida will additionally welcome ESPN to town, as the network will air UF vs. UA live on ESPN2 Saturday at 4 p.m. and on ESPN Sunday at 1 p.m. with Beth Mowins, Michelle Smith and Jessica Mendoza. As always, Gator fans unable to attend can follow live video via GatorVision.tv Friday evening for a small fee, as well as ESPN3.com coverage Saturday and Sunday. Radio coverage will be provided by 105 ‘The Game’ locally, with the call by Adam Schick and former Gator catcher Kristina Hilberth and live stats will be provided by Gametracker, with all accessible links on www.GatorZone.com.

Alabama enters the weekend against Florida (38-7, 13-6 SEC) with a 41-5 record, boasting a 15-4 record in the league sitting atop the SEC West standings. Bama leads the history of the series, 25-19, while also holding the edge in Gainesville, 11-7. Last time out, the Gators took two from the Tide in Tucaloosa to win the series, chalking up 7-5 (8) and 11-9 victories in the second and third games of the series. Senior Stephanie Brombacher earned the win in the first victory, while current sophomore Ensley Gammel picked up the W in the series finale.

GATOR NOTABLES

The Gator softball team finished off the past week with a record-breaking weekend and sweep over No. 24 Auburn on the road, tallying 14-4 and 8-2 wins in a Saturday doubleheader, while capping off the weekend with a 13-4, six-inning victory Sunday...Florida also downed in-state opponent UCF, 8-1, Wednesday...Florida has smashed 18 home runs in the past week, with five and two round-trippers in Saturday’s match-ups, respectively, while connecting on a single-game record eight in Sunday’s contest against Auburn...Florida countered with three Wednesday evening in the win over UCF...Florida  has now hit 92 homers in 2011, including 43 in league play...The Orange and Blue rallied for a season-high 16 hits on Sunday and scored 35 runs on 40 hits in the three-game series over the Tigers...Senior Kelsey Bruder and freshman Cheyenne Coyle each chalked up three long balls in the series, while Coyle led the Gators in batting clip over the past week’s four-game span...Bruder racked up SEC Player of the Week honors for the second time this season for her contributions, going 3-for-4 in Sunday’s series finale...Freshman Hannah Rogers earned her 21st, 22nd and 23rd  wins of the season in the first of two games Saturday, on Sunday and Wednesday against the Knights, while picking up the save in Saturday’s game two, the second save of the season for Rogers... Senior righty Stephanie Brombacher made her first start and appearance in the circle since March 12 after an injury, working 4.2 innings in the second game of the Saturday doubleheader with Auburn to earn her 15th victory of the season...Brombacher tossed 2.1 innings of scoreless relief in Wednesday’s home contest against UCF... Florida moved to 38-7 overall and 13-6 in league play on the season, while improving to 10-7 against teams in the Top 25.

 

SCOUTING THE TIDE

Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy earned his 700th career victory and senior Kelsi Dunne set the career strikeout record over the weekend at Rhoads Stadium to complete the sweep of the Mississippi State Bulldogs. The Crimson Tide’s home opener against Mississippi State on Friday was postponed due to inclement weather so the two teams met up for a doubleheader on Saturday afternoon. Alabama won both matchups on Saturday over MSU in front of a sold out crowd of 3,395. The Crimson Tide opened the first game of the doubleheader with a 6-2 victory over Mississippi State. Junior Jazlyn Lunceford came off the bench to hit a grand slam in the sixth off Bulldogs’ pitcher Stephanie Becker. Dunne grabbed the win by allowing only two runs on three hits and striking out seven while not walking any batters. Dunne refused to give up another hit after the second inning. In game two, Alabama crushed three home runs to rout Mississippi State, 13-3. Sophomore Courtney Conley smacked a three-run shot over the wall in right to end the game in the sixth. Freshman Jackie Traina picked up the win inside the circle, giving up three runs off seven hits. The right-hander improves to 16-3 on the season. On Sunday afternoon, the Crimson Tide defeated the Bulldogs, 5-2. Dunne turned in another stellar performance and improved her record to 20-2 on the season. Dunne gave up just one earned run off three hits while striking out 11 batters. Dunne retired 12 straight batters, starting in the third inning. Junior Amanda Locke went 2-for-3 with a homerun and two runs batted in.

 

CANCER AWARENESS WEEKEND!

The No. 8/9 University of Florida softball team will hold its Cancer Awareness Weekend April 22-24 as the Gators play host to No. 3/4 Alabama in a three-game conference series at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. The event, organized by former Florida standout Francesca Enea in conjunction with the Gator marketing department, features special promotions, cancer awareness initiatives and a Swinging for the Cure Home Run Derby Saturday that will showcase past and present Gator athletes, along with ESPN college softball analyst and former four-time All-American and Olympic gold medalist Jessica Mendoza, with two-time softball National Player of the Year Danielle Lawrie as the celebrity pitcher.

 

Admission is free to all Gator softball games, as well as the Swinging for the Cure event, which kicks off just after the 4 p.m. Florida vs. Alabama contest April 23. Gator fans will have the option of pledging to the Shands Brain Tumor Research Department following Saturday’s game. No cash or checks will be accepted at the event.

 

Read a special blog entry from GatorZone.com’s Scott Carter about Swinging for the Cure here.

The first 600 fans to Friday’s contest will receive ‘Florida for the Cure’ pink bracelets. Sunday, all cancer survivors will line the field for the National Anthem and one cancer survivor will toss the first pitch.

For all Gator softball information, visit www.GatorZone.com/softball.

 

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