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Kristen Butler hit two home runs in Florida's loss to Michigan State in the UNLV Invitational.

Saturday February 19, 2005Softball Split in Rained Soaked UNLV Invitational

Las Vegas, NV

Kristen Butler hit two home runs in Florida's loss to Michigan State in the UNLV Invitational.

The No. 14/16 (12-2) Florida Softball team split their first two games in the UNLV Invitational on Saturday. Florida defeated Iowa State, 4-2 in the first game of the day, and lost to Michigan State, 9-8, in a offense driven game two.

The day began late as the start of Florida's first game was delayed an hour to allow the field to dry after Friday's rain. There was also a total of an hour in delays, as the first game was delayed 20 minutes due to lightning in the area and game two was delayed 42 minutes for rain.

Florida capitalized on an Iowa State error in the first inning of game one to take to two-run lead. Shelley Stevens led off the inning with a base hit up the middle. She advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Stacie Pestrak, her seventh of the season. Stevens scored on the error by the Iowa State short stop as the ball went between her legs into the outfield. Melissa Zick was safe at second on the play. Butler drove a single to centerfield to score Zick for the 2-0 Gator lead.

Iowa State tied the game in the top of the fourth inning as the first two batters of the inning hit back-to-back home runs. Mandy Schuerman came in to relieve starter Amanda Knowles. After a 20 minute delay for lightning, Schuerman sat the next three batters down in order to end the inning.

Pestrak drew a lead off walk to start the bottom of the sixth inning. Lindsey Cameron hit her fourth home run of the season to put the Gators up 4-2 for the eventual win. Cameron now has 17 career home runs, putting her second on Florida's career-home run list.

Schuerman earned the win for Florida, improving her record to 4-0 on the season. She allowed only one hit in the four innings she pitched.

Game two was all about offense for both Florida and Michigan State. The Spartans starting the scoring in the top of the first inning. Three straight walks loaded the bases for a two RBI base hit for Elizabeth Peterson. With one out, Traci Nicosia hit a home run ot left center to give Michigan State a 5-0 lead. Schuerman came in to relieve starter Stacey Stevens and retired the next two batters to end the inning.

Florida scored its first run in the bottom of the second inning on a Kristen Butler blast about 250 feet out of left field. It was her first of the season, but the second would come later in the game.

The Gators had their five-run inning in the third. Michelle Diaz was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. Shelley Stevens and Pestrak followed with back-to-back bunt singles to load the bases. Diaz scored on an error by the Michigan State centerfielder as Cameron was safe to keep the bases loaded for Melissa Zick. Zick hit a three-run double to tie the game at 5- 5. Rachel Turney came in to relieve Spartan starter Christy McGrew with no outs in the inning. Zick advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Schuerman and scored on an error by the Spartan second base person to give Florida the 6-5 lead.

Michigan State tied the game in the fifth on a lead off homer by Peterson. Stacey Stevens reentered the game to pitch for Schuerman and retired six of the next seven batters she faced.

Florida went ahead again in the sixth inning on a second Butler home run, this time a two-out, two-run bomb over centerfield.

The Spartans came back in the top of the seventh. Peterson was hit by a Stevens pitch to lead off the inning and advanced to second on a ground out. Nicosia hit a single to left field and advanced to secon on the throw to put runners and second and third with one out in the inning. Caitlin Mahoney singled through the right side to score Peterson. With two outs, Amy Szawara hit a two RBI base hit to put the Spartans ahead 9- 8.

Florida went down in order in the bottom half of the inning to give the Spartans the win.

Stacey Stevens received the loss, moving her record to 5-2 on the season.

The Gators are scheduled to play Southern Illinois at noon Eastern on Sunday before returning to Gainesville.
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