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Sunday March 25, 2001Softball Loses 2, Finishes Runner-up at FAU Tourn

BOCA RATON, Fla.

The Florida Gator softball team's offense caught on too late in two one-run losses as it finished runner-up to host Florida Atlantic in the FAU Tournament Sunday afternoon.

The top-seeded Gators (26-10) fell 4-3 to No. 5 Seed Michigan State in the playoffs and 2-1 in nine innings to No. 3 Seed FAU in the title game. It was UF's first loss in three overtime games this year.

UF's school record nine-game win streak came to a halt with the loss to MSU. But, the Gators caught a break to get into the championship game. MSU forfeited the title game due to travel plans, and UF and FAU agreed to play.

The Spartans (9-21), which scored 11 runs on 18 hits in a play-off win vs. Jacksonville State Sunday morning, also out-hit the Gators 8-7. MSU scored twice in each the third and fifth frames.

"Michigan State got hot later in the tournament, and our offense slowed down," Coach Karen Johns said. "When we're playing these types of teams, we can not give up runs without putting them on the board ourselves."

UF trailed 4-0 heading into the bottom of the sixth. Senior first baseman Ashley Boone (Irvine, Calif./Woodbridge) led off with a single to start the rally. UF scored three times on four hits and a walk in the frame.

Senior Renise Landry (West Monroe, La./West Monroe) received the loss. Landry earned all four runs on four hits and walked three over four innings. Freshman Amanda Moore (Tuscaloosa, Ala./Hillcrest) came in relief and tossed three scoreless innings. Moore allowed four hits and fanned two. MSU's Becky Gray (4-8) walked two and struck out six in a complete game.

FAU's Nikki Myers, who was named the Most Valuable Pitcher, hit a two-run homer in the fourth. An error at third base kept UF alive in the fifth and allowed pinch runner Jenn Brown (Orlando, Fla./Bishop Moore) to score. Brown ran for left fielder Mylin Prieto (Cooper City, Fla./St. Thomas Aquinas), who led off the inning with one of her two singles. The Gators tied it at two a piece thanks to another two-out error at first base in the sixth.

Flawless fielding kept UF in the game. Sophomore third baseman Jenn Mossadeghi (Jupiter, Fla./The King's Academy) was a stalwart defender at the hot corner, setting a UF single-game record with 10 assists. In the fifth and eighth innings, Moore retired the sides in order with six groundouts to Mossadeghi.

Landry came in relief for Moore in the bottom of the ninth. Third baseman Michelle Shirah took a one-two out pitch out of center field for the game-winning home run. Landry (12-4) received the loss. Moore allowed two runs on four hits, walked one and struck out six.

Southeastern Conference Western Division leader No. 4 Alabama comes to Gainesville, Fla., for a three-game series March 27-28. Tuesday's doubleheader begins at 5 p.m. Wednesday's game is at 1 p.m. WRUF-AM 850 will broadcast Tuesday's games live.

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