Saturday February 15, 2003Softball 4-0 in Invitational, Head to Championship
The University of Florida softball team couldn’t quite bring the eight-run rule into play in its first game Saturday, so it made sure the game-ending rule was brought into play in its second game.
After Florida (12-4) defeated Southern Mississippi 7-0 in its first game at Florida Softball Stadium in the 2003 Gator Invitational, the Gators defeated Birmingham-Southern 11-2 in five innings marking the second time during the tournament that Florida has ended a game early due to the eight-run rule.
Florida has shut out three of its four opponents in the 2003 Gator Invitational. It will play in the championship game 1:30 p.m. Sunday at Florida Softball Stadium against the winner of the Tennessee-Chattanooga/Southern Miss game, which was in progress at the time of this release.
"In the second game, I thought we let our guard down," Florida coach Karen Johns said. "We let them score first, and we can’t let that happen. That was going to be the hardest game to get up for all year because we were kind of cruising and feeling good about ourselves. But we responded and came right back and scored, so that was a positive that erased that one negative that we thought we had."
Against Southern Miss (3-3), Florida senior Jackie Marchetta went 2-for-4 with two RBI and a stolen base. Senior Mylin Prieto tied a career high with three of the Gators’ 14 hits, which were the ninth-highest hit total in school history.
Junior Florida pitcher Jenny Gladding (4-2) picked up her second complete-game win of the tournament against Southern Miss allowing three hits and striking out four. Gladding matched her success on the mound with a 2-for-2 day at the plate with a double and RBI.
"I felt like I pitched all right, but I didn’t have my best outing," Gladding said. "I am just trying to improve every game."
The Gators scored all five of their fourth-inning runs with two outs to take a 6-0 lead over Southern Miss. Florida led off the fourth with two singles off starter Jessica Holaway (2-2), but a lineout and a fly out on the subsequent at-bats appeared to end the scoring threat.
But Gladding’s RBI single to center field scored pinch-running junior Andrea Magura for the Gators’ first of three consecutive RBI singles. On the next at-bat, senior Prissie Walden ripped a RBI single to left field to score Prieto and put Florida up 3-0.
Marchetta scored pinch-running sophomore Brittani Houghton and Walden with a two-RBI single to left field as Florida stretched its lead to 5-0. Marchetta scored from second base in the next at-bat as a result of Southern Miss first baseman Tammy Edwards’ fielding error.
Freshman Laura Templeton, brought in to pinch hit for junior Jenilee Garner with one out in the fifth inning, singled through the left side of the infield to score Prieto for the Gators’ final run.
Two doubles in the bottom of the third inning led to Florida’s first run. After Gladding led off the inning with a double off the left-center field wall, freshman Lindsey Cameron doubled with two-outs through the right-center field gap to score pinch-running freshman Lindsay Norfleet. Norfleet stole second base in the inning to set up the score.
Garner made a running catch in center field to end the game.
Freshman Kristen Butler’s grand slam highlighted the Gators’ offensive assault in their 11-2 win over Birmingham-Southern (3-5).
Florida junior Jenilee Garner went 2-for-2 with three RBI and two doubles. Senior Jennifer Mossadeghi and freshman Lindsey Cameron each went 2-for-2 with two runs scored for the Gators.
Junior Amanda Moore (4-1) pitched all five innings of Florida’s win and struck out four. The win marked the second time this tournament that Moore has been the winning pitcher in a game where Florida has brought the eight-run rule into play.
The Gators scored 10 runs off eight hits in the first two innings to take a 10-1 lead.
Florida’s four-run first inning was only a preview for its six-run second inning.
After senior Mylin Prieto was walked with no outs and the bases loaded to score Cameron, Butler took it upon herself the next at-bat to clear the bases for Birmingham-Southern pitcher Kristina Villavicencio (1-2).
Butler’ sent the first pitch over the left-field fence to score Mossadeghi, sophomore Mandy Schuerman and Prieto.
The Gators were not finished scoring for the inning as Garner doubled to left field with one-out, which led to pinch-running senior Jennifer Brown scoring from third base on a wild pitch for their 10th run. Brown stole third base to set up the score.
Birmingham-Southern’s one-run lead that it took into the bottom of the first inning wouldn’t last. The Gators scored four runs, three of which came from Garner’s three-RBI double, in the first.
With the bases loaded and one out, Prieto singled to left field to score Cameron as Florida tied the score at 1. Birmingham-Southern center fielder Kristen Fuhrmann could not fight off the sun on Garner’s sky-high smash in the next at-bat, and Mossadeghi, Schuerman and Prieto scored to give Florida a 4-1 lead.
Senior Andrea Zimbardi scored sophomore Ashlie Goble in the fourth inning on a sacrifice fly to left field to give Florida its final run. It was Zimbardi’s first RBI of the season.
In Saturday’s first game, Birmingham-Southern remained winless in the 2003 Gator Invitational after dropping its third game of the tournament 4-1 to Tennessee-Chattanooga.
UT-Chattanooga (3-7) pitcher Awbrey Winckler (1-6) allowed no earned runs and struck out five in earning the complete-game win. Leslie Barron went 1-for-2 with a home run for UT-Chattanooga.
Birmingham-Southern’s (3-4) only run came in the top of the fifth inning off Nikki Rombough’s RBI-double. Rombough went 3-for-3 with two doubles.
After scoring a quick run in the bottom of the first inning, UT-Chattanooga scored runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth inning. Barron hit her home run over the right-field fence in the fourth inning.
Birmingham-Southern starting pitcher Dawn Treadwell (1-1) allowed six hits in four innings to pick up the loss.