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Saturday May 4, 2002Softball Loses Doubleheader in Starkville

Starkville, MS

Florida softball (32-32, 12-17) lost both games of its final regular season doubleheader to Mississippi State (33-27. 12-16) today in Starkville, 4-1 and 6-2. The Gators can now finish no better than sixth place in the Southeastern Conference.

Mississippi State took the early 1-0 in the bottom of the first inning. Designated player Jennifer Nelson walked with one out and advanced to second on a Kellie Wilkerson ground out to Gator pitcher Mandy Schuerman. Nelson scored on the RBI single up the middle by Iyhia McMichael.

The Gators came back to tie the game in the top of the third. Jackie Marchetta hit a single with one out in the inning. She advanced to second on a passed ball by the Bulldog catcher. She scored on the RBI single by Jenilee Garner.

The Bulldogs took the lead again in the bottom of the inning. Jennifer Nelson drew the lead off walk, but was thrown out at second as Wilkerson was safe on the play. Wilkerson scored from first on the RBI double down the right field line to the wall by McMichael.

Mississippi State added two runs to its lead in the bottom of the fifth inning. Jennifer Nelson led off with a base hit. Wilkerson walked to put two runners on for McMicael, who was responsible for the Bulldogs two previous runs with no outs. The Gator defense held tight as McMichael was safe on the fielder's choice, but Wilkerson was thrown out at second for the first out of the inning. Jasper's hit safely on the fielder's choice, with all other runners safe and Nelson scoring. Lindsay Nelson hit a short single up the middle to load the bases. Brittani Houghton came into relieve starter Schuerman. An outstanding diving catch in right center field by Katy Berger prevented more than one run from scoring on the Jennifer Waterman sacrifice fly. McMichael scored what would prove to be the final run of the game to give MSU the 4-1 win.

Mississippi State took an early lead again in game two. In the bottom of the second inning, lead off batter McMichael was safe on a two-base error. She advanced third and scored on two consecutive groundouts for the 1-0 lead. The Bublldogs added to their lead in the bottom of the fourth. Jennifer Nelson led off with a single and scored on a Wilkerson triple to centerfield for a 2-0 MSU lead. Another Wilkerson triple, this time with bases loaded in the fifth, put the Gators down by five runs. Mississippi State scored its final run of the game off two straight wild pitches in the bottom of the sixth inning, giving them the 6-0 lead.

Florida scored its first run of the game in the top of the seventh. Stacy Rosen led off with a single to right field. Marchetta followed with another base hit to center field. Mandy Schuerman was safe on a fielder's choice and Jackie Marchetta was thrown out at second for the second out of the inning. Schuerman stole second and Rosen scored on the play on an error by the MSU shortstop. Andrea Zimbardi reached on another error by the shortstop to load the bases. Schuerman scored on an RBI single through the left side by Katy Berger. Mississippi State made the final out to end the game with a 6-2 win.

The final game of the series begins at 12:30 p.m. CT tomorrow. The Gators need to win the game to finish ahead of Mississippi State in the conference.

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