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Mary Ratliff went 2-for-2 as a pinch hitter in the Gators games on Saturday.

Saturday February 12, 2005Softball Advances to Championship with 5-2 Win

Gainesville, FL

Mary Ratliff went 2-for-2 as a pinch hitter in the Gators games on Saturday.

The No. 19 Florida Softball team (11-0) overcame four errors to earn a 5-2 come-from behind victory over Coastal Carolina in the semifinals of the GRU Classic at the Florida Softball Stadium Saturday afternoon.

With the Gators trailing 2-0, Mandy Schuerman started a Florida rally in the bottom of the fifth inning with a solo home run off Chanticleer’s pitcher Christine Doyle. Prior to the Schuerman blast, Doyle had pitched five shutout innings with only two Gator hits. Nikki Baldwin followed Schuerman with a walk and stole second in the ensuing at bat. Lauren Roussell smacked a single up the middle to put Florida runners on the corners. A steal attempt by Roussell drew an errant throw by Coastal Carolina catcher Kelly Feely, allowing Baldwin to score and tie the game at 2-2. Roussell Advanced to third on the error. A sacrifice bunt by Lindsay Norfleet down the first base line scored Roussell giving the Gators a 3-2 lead.

Melissa Zick provided two insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth inning with a two-run shot deep to center field off reliever Brittany Nelson. Zick led the Gators offensively with a hit, a run and two RBI.

Coastal Carolina took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning off a RBI single by Nelson. The Chanticleers capitalized on two Gator errors in the fourth inning to take a 2-0 lead.

Schuerman pitched 5.1 innings, giving up only two hits and striking out six Coastal Carolina batters. She did not surrender an earned run en route to her third victory of the season. In five appearances this season, Schuerman has yet to allow an earned run.

The Gators turned to Amanda Knowles in the top of the fifth inning to secure the one-run lead. Knowles recorded her second save of the season by pitching 1.2 shutout innings, allowing only one hit.

Doyle was charged with the loss for Coastal Carolina, falling to 0-3 on the season.

Florida head coach Karen Johns felt adjustments at the plate played an integral part in the Gators 11th victory of the season. "We talked about making some adjustments at the plate," Johns said. "We made those adjustments in later innings and that made a big difference."

The Gators will play the winner of the Notre Dame and South Florida game taking place later this evening in the championship game of the GRU Classic Sunday at 12:30 p.m.

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