Saturday April 10, 2004Softball Sweeps South Carolina in Doubleheader
The No. 13 Florida softball team (37-9, 14-6 SEC) swept No. 18 South Carolina (21-15, 10-13 SEC) in the first two games of the three game series at the UF Softball Stadium in front of a crowd of 1,012 fans. Florida defeated the Gamecocks 2-0 in the first game and came back from behind in the sixth inning of the second game to defeat the Gamecocks 4-3.
Pitcher Stacey Stevens had an excellent performance at the mound in the first game allowing only one hit for the entire game. South Carolina’s only hit came in the top of the seventh inning.
The first score of the game came from Florida in the bottom of the fourth, as third baseman Kristen Butler hit her second homerun of the season. The play started as Mylin Prieto hit a single to left field, bringing Butler up to bat. With a 1-0 count, Butler sent the ball over the left field wall to bring in pinch-runner Nikki Baldwin to put the Gators up by two.
Both teams continued to battle for the rest of the game, but were not able to add anymore runs. South Carolina came close in the top of the seventh as McKenna Hughes singled through the right side for the first Gamecock hit of the game. With the final out up at bat for the game, a miscue by Stevens to first baseman Melissa Zick advanced both Hughes and Jennings to second and third. Stevens regrouped and recorded the final out, striking out Kristin Hall to seal the game, 2-0.
Stevens recorded the win for the first game, improving her record to 12-3, while South Carolina’s Stacey Johnson recorded her fifth loss of the season.
In the second game, the Gamecocks struck early going up 1-0 in the first inning. Nancy Crane reached on an error by Florida’s Kristen Butler. After a single up the middle by Meghan Cornett, Crane advanced to third. With one runner in scoring position, Ashlie Smith hit a sacrifice fly to right field bringing in Crane for the score.
In the top of the second, South Carolina recorded two more runs as pitcher Aleca Johnson hit her first homerun of the season, second of her career, bringing in Kristin Hall. Hall reached off a single up the middle.
Florida strung together several opportunities to score in the bottom of the fourth but were not able to capitalize until the bottom of the sixth. The Gators started early with a single to left field by centerfielder Jenilee Garner, followed by a single to right field by Mandy Schuerman. Melissa Zick hit to shortstop Amber Curtis who could not control it in time as all the runners advanced. With the bases loaded and no outs, Mylin Prieto stepped up to bat. With one ball and one strike against her, Prieto hit a double down the left field line, recording two RBIs by bringing in Garner and Schuerman. Zick advanced to third on the play. With runners on second and third, Butler stepped up to try and even the score. Butler hit a line-drive to the first baseman who, after bobbling the ball, tagged Butler out, but did not have enough time to throw Zick out at home as she scored the tying run.
After hitting Roussell with a pitch, and the score tied with only one out in the inning, South Carolina head coach Joyce Compton made the switch at pitcher, bringing back Aleca Johnson.
With Lindsey Cameron up at bat, Baldwin, who was pinch-running for Roussell, attempted to steal second. As the catcher Ashley Smith tried to make the throw at second, the ball was just out of reach for Curtis, allowing Baldwin to reach, while at the same time, allowing Prieto to score from third.
Prieto was a perfect 3-for-3 in game two with a run, two doubles and two RBI. Mandy Schuerman was also perfect at the plate with a 2-for-2 performance and a run scored. Kristen Butler earned three RBI on the day.
Florida closed out the seventh on a strong defensive effort forcing all three outs back-to-back. Amanda Moore recorded the win for the Gators, improving to 5-0 on the season, while South Carolina’s Melanie Henkes recorded her seventh loss of the season. Stacey Stevens also pitched two complete innings for the Gators before being relieved by Moore.
Florida’s pitchers had an impressive day. In addition to Stevens’ one-hitter in game one, the staff gave up only one walk while striking out 10 in both games combined.
Florida faces South Carolina in the final game of the series tomorrow, April 11 at the UF Softball Stadium. Before the game the team will honor its five seniors. Following the game children can hunt Easter Eggs and have the possibility of winning a $250 gift certificate to Toys R’ Us.