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Saturday February 8, 2003Softball Heads to GRU Championship Game

Gainesville, FL

Although the score was closer than Friday’s 10-run win, the University of Florida softball team’s second game against Illinois-Chicago in the 2003 GRU Classic yielded the same results Saturday night. The Gators (8-4) defeated Illinois-Chicago 7-2 at Florida Softball Stadium to advance to Sunday’s championship game.

The Gators will play South Florida (7-5) on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. in the 2003 GRU championship game. Illinois-Chicago (1-8) will face No. 8 Oklahoma (3-1) at 11 a.m. in the consolation game.

"I thought we pitched really well, and I thought our leadoff hitters did a good job getting on base," Florida coach Karen Johns said. "We’re doing some good things on the bases, stealing bases and setting up players."

Sophomore Amanda Knowles (2-0), seeing her first action on the mound in four games, had four strikeouts to earn the win in her first complete game this season. Knowles held a no-hitter through the first 4.2 innings and allowed only three hits.

Senior Jackie Marchetta had her third multi-hit game of the tournament by going 2-for-3 with two runs scored and two stolen bases. The leadoff batter’s fifth-inning single began the Gators’ five-run inning, and it was the fourth time Saturday she led off an inning with a hit.

Senior Prissie Walden hit a two-run home run, her first of the season, in a 1-for-2 performance. Senior Jennifer Mossadeghi went 3-for-3 with two RBI.

Florida ended the scoreless game in the bottom of the third inning with a five-run outburst.

Mossadeghi’s RBI single to right field off Illinois-Chicago pitcher Brittany McIntyre (0-3) scored Marchetta to start the Gators’ scoring assault that inning. One batter later, junior Jenilee Garner smashed a triple to right field to score Mossadeghi and freshman Lindsey Cameron to put Florida up 3-0.

In the next at-bat, Walden put the Gators up 5-0 with her two-run home run over the left field fence.

Knowles’ no-hitter was broken up by Emily Stoddard’s two-out single down the left field line in the fifth inning. Joyce Cathey, the following Illinois-Chicago batter, tripled to right field to score Michelle Miller and Stoddard to bring Illinois-Chicago within three of Florida, 5-2.

The two runs would be all that Knowles would allow. She said she was pleased with her performance.

"I just went out there and hit my spots," Knowles said, "and my defense played well behind me."

The Gators responded to Illinois-Chicago’s fifth-inning when they scored a run in the bottom frame of the inning. After Mossadeghi doubled to center field to start the inning, freshman Laura Templeton and sophomore Ashlie Goble each singled to push Mossadeghi across the plate.

Freshman Lindsay Norfleet scored pinch-running junior Andrea Magura later in the inning with a one-out, infield single that put Florida up 6-2.

Mossadeghi’s RBI-single to center scored Marchetta with one out in the sixth inning to give Florida its seventh and final run.

Prior to Florida’s game against Illinois-Chicago, South Florida (7-5) handed No. 8 Oklahoma (3-1) a 5-4 loss for its first loss of the 2003 GRU Classic and season.

The win put South Florida in Sunday’s championship game where it will play Florida at 1:30 p.m.

USF pitcher Leigh Ann Ellis (3-2) pitched a complete game, allowing four runs (two earned) and eight hits, to earn the win. Oklahoma’s Dana Askins struck out four and allowed nine hits over five innings in receiving the loss.

Holly Groves went 2-for-3 with a RBI for USF, and teammate Kattrina Dowd went 2-for-3 with a double.

Erin Evans hit a homerun and went 1-for-3 for Oklahoma. Oklahoma’s Christina Enea went 2-for-3 with a RBI and double.

USF scored all five of its runs in the top of the first inning.

With one out in the first, Carmela Liwag hit a RBI double and Holly Groves hit a RBI single to give USF a quick 2-0 lead. USF’s next three runs were all unearned, who were put on base by a fielder’s choice groundout, error and past ball.

Trailing 5-2 in the bottom of the seventh inning, Oklahoma’s first two batters reached base successfully to start the team’s two-run inning. A fielding error by USF center fielder Stephanie Roberts scored Tiffany Weight from first base, and a Kelli Braitsch groundout scored Kristin Vesely.

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