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Nikki Michael and the Gators defeated Belmont 10-4.

Friday February 16, 2001Softball Wins One, Loses One in Tournament

Gainesville, FL

Nikki Michael and the Gators defeated Belmont 10-4.

The Florida Gator softball team tied its best start ever at 6-0 with a 10-4 victory against Belmont, but fell short of breaking the record as Chattanooga defeated it 4-2 in the first day of the University Centre Hotel Invitational at the Florida Softball Stadium.

Against Belmont (0-4), UF (6-1) scored six runs on seven hits in the top of the third. The Gators batted through the order before the Bruins recorded the first out on a fielder's choice. Another one of those and a strikeout finally got Belmont out of the inning. Sophomore Bree Berger (Carmel, Ind./Carmel) had the big hit f the game. She doubled for two RBI.

Belmont responded with one run in the bottom of the third. Each team scored twice in the fourth. The Gators had one hit in that frame to set their team season hits record. UF eventually finished with 13. Belmont's Mandy Miles allowed two runs on a wild pitch and a walk in the top of the seventh. The Bruins scored once more. Sophomore pitcher Nikki Michael (Phoenix, Ariz./Greenway) went the distance and closed the book with four runs (one earned) on seven hits, two walks and three strikeouts. Michael improved to 2-0 on the season.

UF's wealthy offense was deceiving. The Gators stranded 12 runners, also a season-high. But, not the record Coach Karen Johns wanted to see.

"We left too many on," Johns said. "Fortunately, we were able to get enough of a lead that it didn't hurt us."

Freshman Jenilee Garner (Gainesville, Fla./Gainesville) tied her personal best with three hits. The right fielder also drove in two runs.

UTC jumped to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Two hits and an error allowed the runs. Senior pitcher Renise Landry (West Monroe, La./West Monroe) struggled early, allowing the first two runners with a walk and hitting the other batter. But, Landry battled for the next two and a third innings. Until, UTC singled, and freshman Amanda Moore (Tuscaloosa, Ala./Hillcrest) came in relief. The Lady Mocs scored again, but the run was credited to Landry. Landry (2-1) took the loss. Just one of her runs was earned. She allowed three hits, two walks and struck out two. Moore gave up two hits and walks, and fanned three.

"I thought Amanda Moore did a nice job," Johns said. " She came in and closed them down."

UF scored in the top of the fifth. Senior Ashley Boone (Irvine, Calif./Woodbridge) reached on a fielder's choice. Freshman second baseman Mylin Prieto (Cooper City, Fla./St. Thomas Aquinas) sent in Boone with a double. The run set up a comeback bid. The Gators juiced the bases with two walks and a UTC error in the sixth. Senior Emily Marino (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Catholic) took her first pitch high and to right field. The ball was about 10 feet short of going over the wall. The sacrifice fly scored one run. UF stranded two of the four runners it left on in its last at-bat. UTC left nine.

"We finally shut it down," Johns said. "We were in it. But, I'm disappointed in our start."

The Gators will face Baylor (9-4) at 1:30 p.m. Saturday. The game will determine the No. 2 Seed in the semifinals. UTC and Belmont will play at 11 a.m.

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