Friday April 18, 2003No-Hitter Propels Softball to Two Shutout Wins
Jenny Gladding pitched a no-hitter to lead the Gators to two shutouts over Tennessee
Jenny Gladding pitched the third no-hitter of her career and hit a home run to lead the University of Florida softball team to its first of two shutout wins against Tennessee Friday. Following a 1-0 win in the first game, the No. 25/23 Gators (34-16, 15-8 SEC) defeated the Lady Vols 2-0.
The Gators ended their four-game losing streak, the longest of the season, with their first win against Tennessee and have now accumulated more wins this season than the 2002 team had for the entire season. Florida is in position to sweep its third Southeastern Conference series of the season if it can defeat Tennessee (39-17, 12-10 SEC) Saturday.
"We are really pleased because we had great defense and great pitching, which we haven’t had since the second game against Alabama," Florida coach Karen Johns said. "Jenny felt like one run was enough for her to win, and she kept telling that to the team."
Gladding (17-9), a junior, pitched the first no-hitter for the Gators this season while striking out 12 in the 1-0 win. Seven of her strikeouts froze a Lady Vol looking, which set a Florida record.
Gladding recorded a strikeout in every inning and had two or more strikeouts in four innings.
"After about the third inning, I really felt like my mix was good and like I was on," Gladding said.
Gladding’s success was not limited to the mound, however. She helped her own cause at the plate with the game-winning home run in the sixth inning.
The scoreless game appeared to be headed for extra innings after the Gators got two quick outs in the bottom of the sixth. But Gladding stepped up to the plate and drilled her team-high ninth home run of the season off Lady Vols starter Stacey Jennings (18-10) that barely cleared the center-field wall.
Following a groundout and a strikeout in the top of the seventh inning, Gladding was helped in collecting the third and final out of the game by the athleticism of left fielder Lindsey Cameron. The freshman made a diving catch off a line drive by Katherine Card running toward the foul line to secure the no-hitter.
Aside from Gladding’s home run, Florida’s only other hit came off an infield single by junior Mylin Prieto in the first inning.
In the second game, Tennessee pitcher Stephanie Humphrey (16-3) did her best Gladding impression by holding the Gators hitless through 4.1 innings. Although the Gators’ defense came close to allowing a multiple-run inning several times, their pitchers preserved the shutout and stranded 12 Lady Vols on base.
Florida pitcher Amanda Moore (12-4) struck out two in two innings of relief to earn the win. The junior struck out the final Tennessee batter in the seventh inning with runners on second and third base to end the game.
Gators sophomore Nikki Baldwin went 1-for-1 with a game-winning RBI double. Sophomore Mandy Schuerman hit her second home run of the season.
The Gators’ offense awoke in the fifth and sixth inning, scoring a run in each of the innings.
Senior Jennifer Mossadeghi’s one-out double off Card’s glove in left field in the fifth inning ended the no-hitter and put Florida in position to score the game-winning run. Two batters later, Baldwin hit a double to center field to score pinch-running sophomore Brittani Houghton from third to put the Gators up 1-0.
Florida added an insurance run with one out in the following inning. Schuerman blasted a solo home run over the 220 sign in center field to give the Gators a 2-0 advantage.
Sophomore Florida starting pitcher Amanda Knowles and relievers Schuerman and Moore each showed their poise by navigating the Gators out of tough innings.
Knowles ran into trouble in the second inning, but stingy Florida defense prevented a run from scoring. With Lady Vols on first and second base after back-to-back walks, Stephanie Humphrey singled to left field, and Sanders rounded third base and headed for home.
A hard throw from Cameron in left field bounced once before freshman catcher Kristen Butler caught it at home and tagged out the sliding Sanders. Without hesitation, Butler then threw to third base to get Mandie Fishback out at third to end the inning.
Schuerman was brought in to pitch in the following inning and, like Knowles, found a way to work out of a jam. After giving up two singles to put runners on first and third base with two outs, Schuerman was able to end the threat by striking out Jennings swinging.
Schuerman struggled in the fourth inning with the Lady Vols’ timely hitting and was replaced by Amanda Moore after two hits, a walk and an error left the bases loaded with one out. The Gators again showed that they would not allow a run to cross the plate as Moore struck out the final two batters.
The Gators have won 11 of their last 12 meetings with Tennessee and are 19-7 all-time against the Lady Vols.
Florida returns to action Saturday as it plays the final game of the three-game set with Tennessee. First pitch is 1 p.m. at Florida Softball Stadium.