Friday April 22, 2011Gator Softball Drops 5-0 Decision in Series Opener With Alabama
The No. 8 Gator softball team fell, 5-0, to the No.3 Crimson Tide Friday at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium in the series opener between the two conference foes in front of an Orange and Blue-clad crowd of 1,339. Florida tallied three hits and four walks, but was unable to capitalize as Alabama scored five runs on four hits to take game one of the three-game series.
Senior righty Stephanie Brombacher (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) (15-1) shouldered her first loss of the season for the Gators (38-8, 13-7 SEC) after allowing one hit, two runs and a walk, while tossing one K in three innings of work. Freshman righty Hannah Rogers (Lake Wales, Fla.) came on in relief in the fourth for the Gators, allowing three runs on an Amanda Locke three-run homer, two additional hits, while fanning six in 4.0 innings in the circle. Kelsi Dunne earned the win, improving to 21-2 for the Crimson Tide (42-5, 16-5 SEC), giving up three Gators hits and four walks, while striking out six in a complete-game effort.
Brombacher and the Gator defense allowed just one hit in the first three innings, including a three up, three down effort to start the contest. After Bama’s one-hit second stanza, Florida loaded the bags in the bottom of the frame, but was unable to plate a run. Sophomore Brittany Schutte (Fountain Valley, Calif.) led off with a walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Senior Megan Bush (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) reached on an error by the short stop and junior Tiffany DeFelice (Coral Springs, Fla.) laid down a bunt single to fill the bags. The three Gators were left on base as Dunne caught the next three UF batters looking.
The Crimson Tide put two on the board in the top of the fourth to take a 2-0 lead with the first runs of the contest. Whitney Larsen drew a leadoff walk and then Locke was hit by a pitch, propelling a change in the circle for the Orange and Blue from Brombacher to Rogers. Ryan Iamurri came in to run for Locke and both runners were able to advance into scoring position on a passed ball. Although Rogers caught the next batter looking, a sac fly brought Larsen home and put the first run up on the board. A base hit allowed Iamurri to cross the plate as well, but Rogers caught the next batter swinging, ending Alabama’s fourth-inning scoring.
The Tide added three final runs to their advantage after a long ball by Locke cleared the bases in the top of the fifth for the 5-0 final. Courtney Conley doubled to left-field to put herself in scoring position, but Rogers forced swinging Ks out of the next two batters to put two outs on the board. Larsen drew her second walk of the evening and both runners came home on the bomb to left by Locke.
Junior Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) laid down a one-out bunt single in the seventh, but two consecutive foul outs wrapped up the game for the Orange and Blue.
The three-game series with Alabama continues Saturday with the first pitch set for 4 p.m. This weekend is softball’s Cancer Awareness Weekend and will feature “Swinging for the Cure” Saturday, a home run derby where past and present Gator athletes will compete. Two-time National Player of the Year Danielle Lawrie will be in the circle tossing to six participants. The showcase will take place after the conclusion of Saturday’s game and fans will be able to make pledges to Shands Brain Tumor Research Department to support the cause. Gator fans unable to attend Saturday’s game can watch live coverage on ESPN2, while Sunday’s game will air live on ESPN at 1 p.m., featuring Beth Mowins, Michelle Smith and Jessica Mendoza. Coverage will also be available locally on the radio with Adam Schick and Kristina Hilberth on 105 “The Game” and live stats can be found via Gametracker, accessible on GatorZone.com/softball.