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Friday May 16, 2003Softball Upset By UTA, to Play at 5:30 Tonight

Gainesville, FL

The No. 24/25 University of Florida softball team became the second team shut out by Texas-Arlington pitcher Katie Cox in day two of the NCAA Region Four Championship on Friday at Florida Softball Stadium. A day after rival Florida State was blanked by seventh-seeded Texas-Arlington (41-15), the third-seeded Gators (41-24) were upset 2-0.

The Gators, who defeated Oregon State 3-2 Thursday, will continue play in the double-elimination tournament at 5:30 p.m. today against fifth-seeded Florida Atlantic (47-26) at Florida Softball Stadium.

Texas-Arlington will face top-seeded and No. 5/4 Oklahoma (44-12) Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at Florida Softball Stadium.

Cox (29-6) continued her success in the Regional with her second shutout win. After striking out eight in Texas-Arlington’s 1-0 win against Florida State on Thursday, the pitcher struck out seven in seven innings of work.

Texas-Arlington scored its only run off Autumn Petrino’s two-RBI double in the first inning. The Lady Mavericks’ Melanie Williams went 2-for-3.

Junior pitcher Jenny Gladding (23-14) struck out two and allowed four hits in five innings to take the loss for the Gators. Gladding went 2-for-3 at the plate with a double and a stolen base.

Florida freshman Lindsey Cameron went 2-for-3.

Having won both of its games against Texas-Arlington earlier this season at a Waco, Texas, tournament, Florida was familiar with Cox and had enjoyed success against the pitcher. The Gators scored eight runs combined in its two games against Cox, who pitched complete games in both Florida wins.

Although it was shut out, Florida had plenty of scoring opportunities against Texas-Arlington. Florida advanced a runner into scoring position in five separate innings and out hit the Lady Mavericks 7-4.

Texas-Arlington took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning on Petrino’s double.

A throwing error by senior Florida shortstop Jackie Marchetta to second base on a groundball put Texas-Arlington runners on first and second base with no outs. One out later, Petrino doubled to right field to score Falon Kwasnick and Beverly Rowan to give Texas-Arlington the early lead.

Florida came within a couple of feet from scoring its first run in the third inning.

With two outs and the bases empty, Gladding blasted the Cox delivery off the wall in left-center field for a stand-up double. Senior Jennifer Mossadeghi kept the rally alive by fouling off several pitches before drawing a walk.

Senior Jennifer Brown, who was pinch running for Gladding at second base, and Mossadeghi both advanced a base on a failed pick-off attempt with freshman Kristen Butler at-bat. Butler fouled off five pitches before Cox induced her into a groundout to shortstop that ended the threat.

The Gators’ defensive effort in the bottom of the third inning kept them within striking distance of Texas-Arlington. Mossadeghi made a diving catch at third base, senior Prissie Walden made a basket catch on the steps of her dugout and Butler caught Williams stealing second base.

Florida threatened to score again in the sixth inning but could not muster a hit off Cox with runners in scoring position.

After Cameron singled up the middle with one out and stole second base in the sixth, the Gators had a runner in scoring position for the fourth time of the afternoon. Sophomore Mandy Schuerman fouled almost 10 pitches off Cox before the pitcher struck her out looking for the second out. Sophomore Nikki Baldwin was retired in the following at-bat on a groundout.

The Gators advanced a runner to third for the second time in the afternoon in the final inning. Junior Jenilee Garner reached first base on a single, reached second on an error and was advanced to third on Marchetta’s groundout.

Cox struck out Florida junior Mylin Prieto looking and forced Gladding into a ground out to end the game.

The Gators’ all-time NCAA Regional record stands at 4-7.

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