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Mandy Schuerman scored the game winning run for the Gators in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Sunday February 17, 2002Softball Defeats Washington To Take Championship

Gainesville, FL

Mandy Schuerman scored the game winning run for the Gators in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Mandy Schuerman crossed home plate in the bottom of the seventh inning on a dropped out at first base to break a tie game as Florida defeated No.9 Washington 6-5 to capture the University of Florida Hotel and Conference Center Invitational Sunday afternoon at Florida Softball Stadium.

Schuerman doubled down the left field line for Florida (8-4) to lead off the bottom of the seventh. Jackie Marchetta advanced her to third on a bunt, but Washington's throw to first base was dropped. Marchetta was safe and Schuerman crossed home plate and was greeted by her teammates and cheers from the crowd of 512.

"I knew if I didn't score, someone else would," Schuerman said. "It always feels good to beat a team ranked so high."

Florida took three of four games against No.9 Washington (14-3) in the last four days in handing the Huskies their only losses of the season. The teams split a doubleheader Thursday, and Florida defeated Washington 3-2 Saturday afternoon.

Florida pitcher Amanda Knowles (4-0) got the win for Florida, and Washington's Leslie Scott (4-1) received the loss. Bree Berger led Florida by going 2-for-2, including hitting the game-tying home run in the fifth inning. Schuerman went 2-for-4 with two hits, a RBI and a run.

"They made great adjustments and we really needed this," Florida coach Karen Johns said following the win. "Bree came up with a huge hit after fouling pitches off to come through."

With Florida trailing 5-4 with two outs in the fifth inning and no one on base, Berger drilled a 1-2 pitch to dead-center field off Scott to tie the game, 5-5. Knowles preserved the tie game by striking out two Washington batters in the sixth inning with two runners on base.

Florida trailed Washington early in the game 2-0, but used a four-run third inning to take control of the game. After freshman Ashlie Goble doubled to right field to lead off the inning, Schuerman scored the pinch- running Jessie Franklin with a double off the wall in right-center field. Schuerman scored in similar fashion to her game-winning run when she came in off an errant throw to first base after Jackie Marchetta's bunt to tie the game at two a piece.

Jennifer Mossadeghi's sacrifice fly to deep right-center field brought in Marchetta to give Florida a 3-2 lead, and a RBI single by Prisse Walden brought in Mylin Prieto to put Florida on top 4-2.

After Washington tied the score with two runs in the top of the fourth inning, the Huskies went ahead 5-4 on Steph Nicolson's RBI double in the fifth. The Gators took hold from there as Knowles struck out four and gave up only one hit in the final two innings.

Florida returns to action Tuesday, February 19, at 4 p.m. to host St. Johns for a doubleheader at Florida Softball Stadium.
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