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Jackie Marchetta scored three runs and put forth a tremendous defensive effort to lead the Gators.

Saturday January 25, 2003Softball Sweeps Opening Doubleheader

Orlando, FL

Jackie Marchetta scored three runs and put forth a tremendous defensive effort to lead the Gators.

The Florida Gator softball team started its season explosively with a 6-5 extra-inning win over UCF followed by a 1-0 win in the second half of the doubleheader. The 2003 Gators made two big steps in their quest to reach the College World Series as they showed resiliency and sheer will in tough situations.

The Gators struck first in the opening inning of game one with a base hit through the left side by Jackie Marchetta. She was brought across the plate by a Jennifer Mossadeghi double. In the second frame freshman Lindsey Cameron led off with a single followed a triple by Jenilee Garner. On that same play Garner scored on a wild throw to third. With two outs and a runner on second Jenny Gladding drove a RBI single to the right field line for the 4-0 lead.

In the fourth inning the Knights answered back with a two-run homerun over left field by Rachelle Schmidt. In the fifth the Gators responded with a solo shot by Mossadeghi. In the second half of that inning the Knights came out and tied the game 5-5 with a two-out, three-run homer, her second of the game. Both staffs made pitching changes in the remaining two innings. Taylor Sawyer came in to relieve UCF starter Dottie Cupp at the top of the sixth. Amanda Moore came in for that Gators with no outs and two runners on in the bottom of the seventh to strike out two of the four batters she faced while the Gator defense took care of a third, to leave them unscathed and send the game into extra innings.

Lindsay Norfleet started the eighth inning at second due to the international tiebreaker rule. She reached third on a sacrifice bunt by Cameron and scored on a game-winning RBI-single by Garner. Garner went 3-for-5, Marchetta and Mossadeghi were each 2-for-4 and Cameron went 3-for-2 in the Gators season opening 6-5 win.

"I was glad to get that first game out of the way," said junior pitcher Moore. "I was ready to come in and knew we could get it done with how well the defense had been playing. We knew we were backing each other up and could win. Jenilee, Moss, Jackie, everybody played great games today."

Game two of the doubleheader it was a pitcherís dual. Florida pitchers Amanda Knowles and Amanda Moore combined to give up only one hit. There were several hard hit balls by both teams, but neither could manage to get past the otherís defense. For UCF the first at bat resulted in their only hit of the game. Florida could not put a runner on base until the fourth. Jackie Marchetta opened the Gators only scoring frame of game two with a walk. Mylin Prieto moved her to second on a sacrifice bunt. Marchetta scored her third run of the day with two outs on a RBI single by freshman Laura Templeton. Once again the Gators came out on top with a 1-0 victory over the Knights.

Gladding pitched 6.0 innings in the first game, but Amanda Moore came in to pitch the final two and earn the win. The two combined for a total of 11 strikeouts. Amanda Knowles started game two and pitched four innings for the win. Moore pitched three more innings in relief in game two. Sawyer was credited with both losses for UCF.

"It was good to come in and get two wins over a quality team before we start tournament play next weekend," head coach Karen Johns said. "Our defense did great today. Amanda Moore came in in some tough situations and shut the door on (UCF). We talked about them being a streak hitting team and the defense was able to respond and react. Now we know what we need to go home and work on for the weekend."

Florida travels to Waco, Texas for the Baylor Invitational January 31 through February 2. The Gators will face Centenary, UT-Arlington, and Baylor each twice in the tournament. Live stats will be available at Baylorbears.com. Post-game stories will be on Gatorzone.com following each game.

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