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Tuesday March 23, 2004Softball Splits Doubleheader With League Leaders

Tuscaloosa, AL

Florida (28-5) split a double header with Southeastern Conference leading Alabama (28-5) tonight in Tuscaloosa. Florida won the first game 4-3, earning their first win in Tuscaloosa since 1997, but lost the second 3-2.

Alabama took an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning. Capper Reed drew a lead off walk to start the inning. She advanced to second on a Stephanie VanBrakle sacrifice bunt. Reed scored on an RBI double by Dominique Accetturo to give Alabama the lead.

Florida came back in the fourth inning to take the lead. Jenilee Garner led off the inning with a walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch. She advanced to third on a base hit to left field by Lauren Roussell. Shelley Stevens then came in the game to pinch run for Roussell. Jenny Gladding was safe on a fielder’s choice play in which no one was out to load the bases. Michelle Diaz came in to replace Gladding at first. Mylin Prieto drew a walk to score Garner from third. Melissa Zick was hit by a Van Brakle pitch to score Stevens from third and give Florida the lead. Florida went up 3-1 on a Lacy Howard sacrifice fly to score Diaz.

The Tide tied the game up in the sixth inning. Angela Johnson got her team started with a base hit through the right side. One out later, she caem home on a two-run homer by designated player Capper Reed to even the game at three runs a piece.

The Gators grabbed the lead back in the top of the seventh. Garner got her team started again being hit by a VanBrakle pitch. Her sneeky base running allowed her to advance to second as Roussell pooped out to left field. Gladding drew the intentional walk to put runners at first and second. Mylin Prieto had the game-winning RBI single to score Garner for the 4-3 win.

Stacey Stevens pitched 5.2 innings for Florida. Gladding came in to relieve her with one out to go in the sixth to earn the win.

Alabama once again took an early lead in game two. Staci Ramsey hit a two-out home run to start a two-out rally in the second inning. Mandy burford drew the two-out walk and advanced to second on an error by Florida catcher Kristen Butler. She scored on a base hit through the left side by nine-hole hitter Jackie Wilkins to put Alabama up 2-0.

Florida came back within one run in the top of the third. Lindsey Cameron led off with a double down the left field line. She advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Jenilee Garner and scored on an RBI ground out by Lauren Roussell.

The Tide added its third run in the top of the sixth. Lead off batter Jackie Mclain reached on an infield base hit. She advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Reed and scored as VanBrakle was safe on an error by second baseman Prieto to give Alabama the two-run lead once again at 3-1.

Florida attempted a comeback in the seventh. Leadoff batter Lacy Howard reached on an error by third baseman Reed. It looked like Schuerman was going to be safe at first with a runner on second on a bloop single just out of the infield, but Howard was thrown out at second on a very close call. Schuerman scored on a Jenilee Garner double into a huge gap in right center field to narrow Alabama’s lead to just one run with one out to go. But the final Florida batter was out on foul fly to left field.

Gladding received the loss. Only two of the three runs she gave up were earned. Her record moves to 14-3 on the season. Erin Wright earned the win for Alabama. Her record moves to 11-2 on the season.

The two teams will play the rubber match in the series tomorrow at 6 p.m. Eastern time.

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