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Saturday January 29, 2005Softball Goes 2-0 on Opening Day

Miami, FL

The Florida Softball team opened the 2005 season with wins over Florida Atlantic and Florida International with strong team play from every facet. The Gators defeated Florida Atlantic 4-1 and Florida International 6-4. Eight different Gators had hits and seven scored runs in the wins.

In her first at bat in the Orange and Blue, freshman Savana Kelly (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) blasted a shot over the left field fence to give the Gators a 2-0 lift in the bottom of the second inning. Kelly scored sophomore Lacy Howard (League City, Texas) from second who reached on a walk.

Florida added to its lead in the third inning. Sophomore Melissa Zick (Tampa, Fla.) led off the inning with a double to left field. She reached third on a sacrifice bunt by junior Kristen Butler (Orlando, Fla.) she scored on a double steal with two outs to give the Gators the 3-0 lead.

Florida Atlantic scored its first run in the top of the fifth. Jenna Lopez scored on a hit a three Gator errors to make the score.

The Gators reclaimed their three-run lead in the bottom of the fifth. Sophomore Shelley Stevens (Gainesville, Fla.) led off the inning with a base hit to left. She advanced to second on a wild pitch and to third on a fly ball to right by Butler. Stevens scored on a base hit down the left field line by junior Lindsey Cameron (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.).

Senior Mandy Schuerman (Riverview, Fla.) earned the win in her first appearance in the pitching circle since May 3, 2003. She pitched 4.2 innings, gave up four hits, walked one and struck out three. The one run she gave up was unearned. Senior Amanda Knowles (Cooper City, Fla.) came in with one out in the fifth inning to earn the save. She allowed only one hit and struck out two in 2.1 innings of work.

Florida faced off against Florida International in the second game of the day. The Gators took the lead in the top of the second inning. Cameron was hit by a pitch to start the inning. With two outs, she advanced to third on a Howard single. She scored on an error by the Panthers catcher as Howard was attempting to steal second.

In the bottom of the inning, the Gators gave up four runs on three hits and two errors to give Florida International the 4-1 lead.

The Gators added another run to their cause in the bottom of the third. Junior Stacie Pestrak (Gainesville, Fla.) led off the inning with a single to left field. She stole second. Stevens reached on an error by the Panther left fielder. Both runners advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Zick. Pestrak scored on a Butler ground out to third to reduced the FIU lead to two runs at 4-2.

Florida had a three-run fifth inning to take a 5-4 lead. Senior Ashlie Goble (Pine, Colo.) led off the inning with a base hit to left center. Freshman Erick Chesak (Apopka, Fla.) came in to pinch run for her and advanced to second on a Pestrak sacrifice bunt. Stevens followed with a base hit to the second baseman, advancing Chesak to third. Stevens stole second to put runners on second and third with only one out and Zick up to bat. Zick dropped a shot into the left field gap to score Chesak. Zick advanced to second on the throw home. Butler placed the ball in the same spot as Zick to score Stevens from third and tie the game at 4-4. Cameron hit a ball to right center field to score Zick and give the Gators the lead.

Florida added another run in the top of the final frame. Zick drew a walk with one out in the inning. She stole second and advanced to third on a Butler base hit to right field. Zick scored Florida’s final run on a double steal to give Florida the 6-4 win.

Knowles earned the win, giving up only one earned run in 4.1 innings. Schuerman threw the final 2.2 innings and struck out five of the 10 batters she faced to earn the save.

Florida returns to action next weekend at the Clearwater Invitational at the Ed C. Moore Complex. The Gators will face Appalachian State at noon on Friday.


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