Wednesday April 2, 2003No. 24 Softball Upsets No. 22 USF in Sweep
The 24th ranked Florida softball team (29-10) broke a six-game South Florida (39-12) win streak and swept the doubleheader in Tampa. The Gators won a close defensive first game 3-1 and took an exciting offensive second game 9-7.
Game one was truly a pitchers dual. Neither team had been able to get a runner past second base and both pitchers had eight strikeouts going into the top of the sixth. Then the Gator batters decided to break the game open and took advantage of some South Florida mental mistakes.
With one out in the inning, senior firstbaseman Prissie Walden drove the Gators first hit of the game through the left side. Sophomore Brittani Houghton came in the game to pinch run for Walden and stole second. Junior short stop Jackie Marchetta followed with a base hit to the secondbaseman. It should have been a sacrifice for Marchetta, but South Florida secondbaseman Kattrina Dowd did not make the play and allowed Gator runners on first and third. Freshman Lindsey Cameron got Houghton in for the Gators first run with a sacrifice fly to left field. Junior secondbaseman Mylin Prieto drove a double that hugged the left field line. The Bulls left fielder bobbled the ball, allowing Marchetta to come in from first on the error to give Florida a 2-0 lead.
South Florida got its second hit of the game in the bottom of the sixth inning. With one out, Krista Holle grabbed a base hit up the middle with one out in the inning. Samantha Ray was hit by a Jenny Gladding pitch. With two outs, Shelly Riker hit a bunt single. The ball got away from the Gator firstbaseman and Holle scored on the error to reduce Florida’s lead to 2-1.
The Gators added an insurance run in the top of the seventh. Nikki Baldwin led off with a base hit and advanced to second on the bunt single by Kristen Butler. With two outs, Marchetta hit Baldwin in for th e Gators third run of the game.
Gladding and the defense assured the Gators the 3-1 victory as they retired the first three batters in the bottom of the seventh.
Gladding and catcher Ashlie Goble were an unstoppable tandem through the first five innings. Gladding struck out eight batters and only allowed three runners on base. Each of those base runners was thrown out attempting to steal second by Goble. Gladding finished the game with 11 strikeouts in the win. She is now 14-6 on the season. South Florida pitcher Leigh Ann Ellis also struck out 11 batters in the loss. Her record is now 21-6.
Game two was much easier work for the Gators as they got their bats going, but the Bulls bats also got hot and the Gators came through with a close for a 9-7 high scoring win. Marchetta got the Gators going with a leadoff base hit through the left side. She stole second and reached third on a passed ball. Lindsey Cameron hit her seventh home run of the season out in right center field for a 2-0 Gator lead. Prieto drew a walk and Gladding drew a second walked after Schuerman struck out. Sophomore right fielder Nikki Baldwin drove a base hit up the middle to score Prieto for a 3-0 lead.
South Florida came back in the bottom of the first. With one out, Riker reached on an infield single. Lewellen drew a two out walk. Holly Groves hit a double to the right field fence to score both runners and cut Florida’s lead to 3-2.
The Gators added two more runs in the top of the third. Gladding led off the inning with a home run out to right field. With two outs, Prissie Walden hit a single short into left field. She stole second and score on a Jenilee Garner hit down the right field line for a 5-2 Florida lead.
Florida increased their lead to 9-2 in the top of the fourth. Marchetta led off the inning with her second hit of the game and fourth of the day. She stole second and scored on a Prieto base hit up the middle. Prieto scored on a sophomore pitcher Mandy Schuerman double to centerfield. Junior Andrea Magura came in the game as a pinch hitter and her first hit of the season was a home run out down the left field line to score two more Gator runs.
The Bulls worked on a comeback in the bottom of the fourth. Christie Chapman led off the Bulls half of the inning with a base hit up the middle. Renee Oursler hit a double to the right field fence to put runners on first and third and set Holle up for a RBI groundout to second. Oursler scored on a base hit to left field by Sarah Watson. Watson advanced to second on an error by the Gator left fielder. Dowd and Riker hit abck-to-back singles to load the bases. Watson scored on a fielders choice play in which no one was out, still leaving the bases loaded. Dowd scored the final run of the inning on a Courtney Lewellen base hit.
The Bulls added another run in the bottom of the sixth to reduce Florida’s lead to 9-7. Chapman led off the inning with a base hit. She stole second. She scored as a base hit by Holle was bobbled in the outfield. That would prove to be South Florida’s final run however, as the Gators got the 9-7 win.
Florida travels to Athens, Ga. this weekend to face the Southeastern Conference’s top team, No. 9 Georgia. Games are at 1 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday and will be broadcast live on Gatorzone.com.