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Saturday March 23, 2002Softball Defeats Maine 1-0, Moves to Champ. Game

Gainesville, FL

Andrea Zimbardi drove in the winning run in the ninth inning in UF's 1-0 win over Maine Saturday

Junior Andrea Zimbardi drove in the game-winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning to lead the University of Florida softball team (18-21) to a 1-0 victory over Maine (11-14) and a trip into the championship game of the 2002 Gator Invitational.

"The real positive was our pitching, and our defense has been spectacular," said Florida head coach Karen Johns. "We talked to them and prepared them as best as possible to go to the championship game tomorrow."

Florida needed nine innings to get the win, surrendering seven hits. Maine threatened in the first inning when the Black Bears loaded the bases but could not capitalize. Florida had a chance to score in the second inning when Jen Brown, who pinch ran for Bree Berger after a single, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt. Prissie Walden and Katy Berger both popped up to the infield to end the inning.

With the game still scoreless heading into the ninth inning, the international tiebreaker rule was put into effect, in which both teams start each inning with a runner on second base. After Maine was unable to score in the top of the ninth, Florida took its turn. Mylin Prieto moved Jenilee Garner to third on a sacrifice bunt. Mandy Schuerman reached first on a fielder's choice and Jessie Franklin went in to pinch run for Schuerman. After Franklin stole second base, Zimbardi looped a single over Erica Sobel's head for the winning hit.

Amanda Moore (8-8), who entered the game with one out in the ninth inning, was credited with the win. No loss was credited to a Maine pitcher because of the tiebreaker rule.

In other action at the Gator Invitational, Samford defeated Maine 3-1 in the first game of the day. In Saturday's final game, Wisconsin defeated Samford 5-1 to move into the championship game against Florida.

Florida will face Wisconsin in the championship game of the Gator Invitational at 11:30 a.m., while Samford and Maine square off in the consolation game at 9 a.m.
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