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Saturday April 24, 2004Softball Drops Doubleheader to Mississippi State

Starkville, MS

The Florida softball team dropped a Southeastern Conference double header against Mississippi State today in Starkville, losing the first game 7-4 and the second 9-5. The hot-hitting Mississippi State team tallied 23 hits in the two games and scored 16 runs. With the loss, Florida falls to 15-9 in conference play and 39-14 overall.

Mississippi State put themselves on the scoreboard first as they scored three runs in the bottom of the second inning. Tanelda McDonald led off the inning with a base hit down the right field line. Callye Williams reached on a fielder’s choice as the Gators got lead off batter McDonald at second. With two outs in the inning Megan O’Nan was hit by a Stacey Stevens pitch. Iyhia McMichael drew the two-out walk to load the bases. Kate Jaspers cleared the bases with a double to right center to put Mississippi State up 3-0.

Florida’s Kristen Butler put the Gators on the scoreboard with a leadoff homer over the left center field fence in the top of the fourth. With one out, Mylin Prieto hit a long infield single. Shelley Stevens came in to pinch run for Prieto at first. Mandy Schuerman followed with her fifth hit in her last five at bats to put runners at first and second with only one out. Both runners advanced on Mirelis Torres ground out to short stop. Shelley Stevens scored the Gators second run to close the gap to just one run at 3-2 as she scored on a passed ball.

The Bulldogs took a five run lead in the bottom of the fourth. With one out, O’Nan grabbed an infield base hit. McMichael drew her second walk of the game. After a sacrifice by Jaspers to advance the runners to second and third with two outs, Jennifer Waterman drove a hit to the left field wall for a two RBI double. Blaire Brown followed with a home run over the scoreboard in left center field for a 7-2 Mississippi State lead.

Butler lead off the Gator sixth with her second home run of the game, a solid drive that hit off the scoreboard in left center. Butler became the fifth Gator in school history to hit two home runs in a game and the fourth to hit those in back-to-back at bats. The Gators reduced Mississippi State’s lead to three runs with a second consecutive home run by Melissa Zick, this one a shot over the fence in center field.

Florida loaded the bases on a hit and two walks in the top of the seventh, but could not plate a run as Florida fell 7-4 in game one of the doubleheader.

Mississippi State starter Melissa Massey earned the win to move her record to 15-8 on the season. Reliever Stephanie Comeaux earned the save. Stacey Stevens took the loss for Florida. Her record is now 13-6. Amanda Knowles pitched two innings of relief for Florida and gave up no runs.

The Bulldogs plated the first run again in game two as McMichael crossed the plate on a Lindsay Nelson sacrifice fly to left field in the bottom of the first.

Florida took its first lead of the day in the top of the third frame, capitalizing on Mississippi State errors and utilizing their speed. Lead off batter Michelle Diaz reached on an error by first baseman Jaspers. Lindsay Norfleet came in to pinch run for Diaz and stole second. With one out, Jenilee Garner reached on a fielding error by second baseman Nelson. She advanced to second as no one was paying attention to her as the Bulldogs were trying to hold Norfleet at third. Both runners scored as Butler laced a hit down the left field line to put Florida up 2-1.

Mississippi State tied the game in the first three batters in the bottom of the third. Waterman led off with a double to the right center field wall. Brown drew a walk on four straight balls. Nelson tied the game at 2-2 with a RBI double to the left field wall. With that Amanda Knowles came in to replace Florida starter Amanda Moore. Knowles and the Florida defense got the first out of the inning before Knowles gave up her first runs of the day on a bases clearing triple by Callye Williams to put the Bulldogs up 4-2. Pinch hitter Brandi Watkins hit a sacrifice fly to right to score Williams from third for the 5-2 lead. McMichael earned her second hit of the game and advanced Hayle Guess to third. Jaspers earned her second hit of the day with an RBI base hit to score Guess. Waterman cleared the bases with her second double of the inning, bringing in Stacey Stevens to pitch for the Gators. The Bulldogs took a seven-run lead on a base hit to left center to score Waterman as her team went up 9-2.

Stevens shut down the Bulldogs in the remaining three innings. Her team staged a comeback on two outs in the top of the seventh. Schuerman reached on a fielder’s choice as the Bulldogs threw out Andrea Magura at second for the second out of the inning. Garner followed with a solid line drive to left. Butler scored both runners for third and fourth RBI of the game. Melissa Zick followed with Florida’s third consecutive two-out base hit to score Butler to narrow Mississippi State’s lead to four runs at 9-5.

Kelli Miller went the distance for Mississippi State to earn the win and even her record at 8-8. Amanda Moore received the loss for Florida she is now 6-2 on the season.

Butler was a bright spot for Florida as she went 4-for-7 on the day with two home runs, a double, a base hit, six RBI and three runs scored.

Florida will face Mississippi State again tomorrow. Game time is set for 2 p.m. Eastern.

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