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Sunday March 21, 2004Softball Loses to Arkansas in 11 Innings

Gainesville, FL

Despite an impressive eleven-inning performance by Florida, Arkansas snapped an eight-game win streak for the No. 17 Gators, defeating them 5- 4. Florida out-hit Arkansas 9-3 and Jenny Gladding struck out 14 batters, but Arkansas hits were all strung together at opportune moments and they were able to capitalize on Gator errors for the win.

Florida jumped out first in the bottom of the second as Melissa Zick lead off the inning with a double to center field. She scored off a Lacy Howard single up the middle, giving Florida the 1-0 lead.

The Razorbacks came back in the following inning as Arkansas’ Blaire Perry, who was pinch running for pitcher Heather Schlichtman, scored an error by third baseman Lindsay Norfleet to tie the score at one a piece.

The fourth inning proved prosperous for the Gators as they were able to notch another run, taking the lead 2-1 as Lindsey Cameron scored off a double to centerfield by Howard with two outs in the innings.

The Razorbacks came back in the top of the fifth to take the lead. Shana Easley started the Lady Back rally with a base hit to right field with one out in the inning. Allie Benish came in to pinch run for her and advanced to second on a Heather Schlichtman hit to the gap in right center. Melissa Johnson walked to load the bases. Rachel LeMaster hit a single down the left field line to score Benish. Mindy O’Malley reached on an error which allowed two runs to score, giving Arkansas the 4-2 lead. With runners still on second and third, Melissa Zick made a heads up defensive play for the Gators as she dove to catch a fly ball in foul territory and gunned it from her knees to catcher Ashlie Goble at home to prevent the sacrifice fly.

In the bottom of the fifth the Gators answered right back as they found themselves down with two outs and two runners on base. Gladding got the first bit of luck for the Gators as she reached on an error as the Lady Back right fielder dropped the ball. Mylin Prieto reached on a second Arkansas error to bring up Zick. Zick hit a line drive to left field line to score Gladding. Andrea Magura, who was pinch running for Mylin Prieto, rounded third and head for home. It didn’t look good for Magura as Arkansas’ pitcher was ready to tag her out, but after dropping the ball, Magura ran past her making it safely home for the tying run.

Gladding came back strong for the Gators in the top of the seventh as she struck out all three batters to give Florida another chance to take the lead. Florida couldn’t capitalize, however, as they were only able to record one hit off a Gladding single to right field.

The battle continued as the game went into the international tie-breaker at the top of the tenth. Neither teams was able to make use of the player starting at second and the game was forced into the eleventh inning. At the top of the eleventh, Arkansas’ LeMaster hit a sacrifice bunt to advance Melissa Johnson to third bringing O’Malley up to bat. O’Malley hit a sacrifice fly to right field recording the second out, with Johnson scoring the game winning run.

Amanda Knowles pitched the final inning for Florida to receive the loss. Her record is now 2-1 on the season. Heather Schlichtman earned the win for Arkansas. Her record is now 8-8.

Florida will now face Alabama for a three-game series on Tuesday and Wednesday as they continue in SEC play.
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