Sunday May 4, 2003Softball Wins Series Over LSU on Senior Day
In its final tune-up before the 2003 SEC tournament, the No. 24 University of Florida softball team won its last regular-season game 4-0 Sunday against No. 10/11 Louisiana State at Florida Softball Stadium. The Gators (38-21, 19-11 SEC) earned their eighth win against ranked opponents this season and seventh Southeastern Conference series win against the Tigers (45-14, 20-9 SEC).
"We are really pleased," Florida coach Karen Johns said. "I was really pleased with the way they performed all weekend going into the conference tournament. Hopefully, it will give us confidence to play well Thursday night against South Carolina."
Junior Florida pitcher Jenny Gladding (20-12) pitched a complete game to become the first 20-game winner for the Gators since 2000 with her 11-strikeout, three-hit win. Gladding struck out multiple Tigers in five innings to increase her team-high season strikeout total to 257, which is the third-highest season total in Florida history.
"I felt very confident with my pitches," Gladding said. "The team was just up for this game, and that helps all around."
Sophomore Mandy Schuerman hit her third home run of the year with a two-run blast. Gladding helped her cause at the plate with the first triple of her career.
Senior Prissie Walden, playing in her last regular-season home game, went 1-for-2 with a double. Jennifer Mossadeghi, also a senior, had a RBI.
The Gatorsí base running was the catalyst for two first-inning runs. Senior Jackie Marchetta beat out a bunt to lead off the inning, and she scored off Junior Mylin Prietoís bunt in the following at-bat.
The errant throw from LSU catcher Leigh Ann Danos to third base on Prietoís bunt went into left field and allowed Marchetta to score for a 1-0 Florida lead. Prieto, who stole third base in the next at-bat, scored on Mossadeghiís sacrifice fly to left field that put the Gators up 2-0.
Schuerman blasted the Kristin Schmidt (30-11) delivery over the right-field fence in the sixth inning with sophomore pinch runner Brittani Houghton on first base to give Florida a 4-0 lead.
The Gators honored their four seniors before the game as part of the teamís Senior Day. Jennifer Brown, Walden, Mossadeghi and Marchetta were each given flowers by teammates and greeted by family on the field.
Florida travels to Plant City, Fla., Wednesday to begin the 2003 SEC Tournament. The fifth-seeded Gators will practice Wednesday before beginning play Thursday against fourth-seeded South Carolina at 6 p.m.