Friday May 6, 2011Gators vs. Volunteers: Key Softball Conference Finale Hits Gainesville This Weekend
The Florida and Tennessee softball squads will meet in a key conference clash this weekend at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium with SEC Tournament seeding and the regular season crown on the line. On paper, the Gators and Vols match up almost perfectly record-wise and in most statistical categories, previewing a good weekend of softball competition ahead. No. 3/5 Tennessee enters the series boasting an overall record of 44-7, including a 20-5 conference record, while Florida ranks No. 4/6 in the latest polls, released Tuesday. UF sports a 44-8 record, 18-7 in the league.
Gator fans across the country will be able to follow the action a number of different ways, as both Saturday and Sunday games will be carried live on the ESPN family of networks with Saturday’s noon broadcast on ESPN and Sunday’s 3 p.m. finale set to air on ESPNU, both days with Beth Mowins, Michele Smith and Charlotte Morgan calling the contest. Friday’s 4:30 series opener will be broadcast live on Sun Sports and GatorVision.tv, with both radio and live stats coverage as well. Larry Vettel and Kristina Hilberth will be on the call Friday on television, with Adam Schick live locally on radio at 105 ‘The Game’. Hilberth and Schick will take on radio coverage both Saturday and Sunday.
With the SEC regular-season title on the line and seeding for the conference tournament (May 12-14; Oxford, Miss) on tap, a lot is at stake in the key conference and SEC Eastern Division clash between the Gators and Vols in the regular-season finale for both squads. For a shot at the regular season title, the Gators would need Alabama to drop a contest in its league finale with Ole Miss, while also carrying out what would be a challenging sweep over Tennessee. The Vols would clinch the regular-season title with two of three wins against the Gators if Alabama successfully sweeps Ole Miss. Should Alabama lose one game to Ole Miss, UT would need to squeeze just one out of UF in the three-game series to claim the regular-season crown, awarded based on the winning percentage in the SEC slate.
Not only a critical series in the scope of the SEC, but the weekend series will serve as Senior Weekend for Florida’s five seniors, Stephanie Brombacher (Pembroke Pines, Fla.), Megan Bush (Anaheim Hills, Calif.), Kelsey Bruder (Corona, Calif.), Tiffany DeFelice (Coral Springs, Fla.) and Aja Paculba (Wildomar, Calif.), as high school, travel ball and UF teammates Brombacher and DeFelice will be honored prior to Saturday’s game, with the California trio of Bush, Bruder and Paculba set to be Sunday’s senior honorees.
Florida’s seniors need just one more victory this season to become the winningest class in Gator history. Florida’s senior class has been one of the most successful classes in school history, boasting a 226-28 (.889) overall record and a 91-13 (.875) record in conference play. The seniors were a part of an NCAA-record 70 wins in 2008. The class boasts three All-Americans and two ESPN The Magazine Academic All-Americans, and has laced the UF record book through its past four years donning the Orange and Blue, with their final 2011 season as no exception.
UF leads the all-time series slate with UT, 32-20, and boasts a 18-6 record at home in Gainesville, successfully stringing together nine wins until last year’s doubleheader that the squads split on Tennessee’s turf. Florida took game one in Knoxville, 6-0, but the Vols earned the 4-3 victory in the second game of the twinbill.
Game notes, series history and more HERE in this weekend’s game notes.