Saturday March 19, 2005Softball Sweeps First SEC Doubleheader of Year
The No. 16 Florida Softball team (23-6, 2-0 SEC) opened Southeastern Conference play with a doubleheader sweep of the Arkansas Lady Backs (10-21, 0-8 SEC) in Fayetteville, Ark. Saturday afternoon. Florida won the first game 2-1 in eight-innings, the seventh extra-inning game in the series between the two teams. The Gators shut out the Lady Backs 9-0 in game two.
Florida threatened right away in the first inning, as they loaded the bases on a hit and two Arkansas errors with only one out. The Arkansas defense settled down though as they got the final two outs of the Gator half of the inning to send the Razorbacks up to bat.
Arkansas scored the first run of the game in the bottom of the third on a Gator error. With two outs in the inning and a runner on first, Rachel LeMaster beat out an infield base hit. An errant throw to third base to get the runner advancing to third allowed a run to score. The Gators got the third out of the inning on the same play as LeMaster got caught in a run down advancing from second to third.
Florida designated player Savana Kelly took one swing to tie the game at 1-1 as she hit a two-out homer over the left field fence in the top of the fourth. It marked the third home run of the season for the freshman.
The 1-1 tie stayed through the bottom of the seventh. Lauren Roussell came up for the Gators in the top of the eighth and drove a double through the left side. She advanced to third on a Lindsay Norfleet sacrifice bunt. Lindsey Cameron broke the tie, giving Florida a 2-1 lift on a base hit down the right line to score Roussell. Cameronís game-winning hit was her ninth game winner of the season.
Florida pitcher Stacey Stevens (12-4) struck out nine in the win, her 12th of the season. Stevens did not give up an earned run in the win. She has earned the win in both of Floridaís extra-inning games this season, the other a 6-5 win over South Florida in Tampa. Stevens has now pitched four straight games without giving up an earned run. Katy Henry pitched the complete game in the loss for Arkansas. Her record moves to 3-6 on the year.
The Gators got their bats going a lot quicker in game two of the doubleheader as they already had more hits by the end of the second inning than they had in the entire first game. Melissa Zick led off the top of the second with a base hit. She stole second to put herself in scoring position for Stacie Pestrak. Pestrak drove a base hit up the middle to score Zick and give Florida a 1-0 lead.
Lauren Roussell gave Florida a 2-0 lead with a one out home run in the top of the fifth. It was her second of the season. Lindsey Cameron began a two-out rally in the same inning with a base hit up the middle. She scored and Florida went up 4-0 on a Kristen Butler home run over the fence in left center.
With two outs in the top of the sixth, pinch hitter Mary Ratliff reached on an infield base hit. Shelley Stevens reentered to run for Ratliff and stole second. The steal was the 30th of Stevensí career, making her the fastest Gator in the nine-year history of Florida softball to steal 30 bases. Roussell singled through the right side and advanced to second on the throw home as Stevens scored to put the Gators up 5-0.
Cameron hit a lead off home run in the top of the seventh, her seventh of the season and the 20th of her career. Butler followed with a walk. She was replaced at first by pinch runner Nikki Baldwin. Bladwin advanced to third and Kelly reached first and advanced to second on an error by the Lady Back pitcher. After a Zick strikeout, Lacy Howard reached on an error by the shortstop and Baldwin scored to put Florida up by seven runs. Howard stole second to put two runners in scoring position. Stacie Pestrak was hit by a pitch to load the bases. With two outs, Lauren Roussell drove a sharp hit through the right side to score two runs and put Florida up 9-0.
The Gators put together 14 hits in game two. It was the eighth game of the season the Gators had 10 or more hits
Mandy Schuerman earned the win for Florida, improving her record to 6-1 on the season. She struck out six batters and only gave up one run in the win. Amanda Knowles started the game for Florida and pitched three innings before being relieved by Schuerman. Arkansas threw four pitchers in the loss. Cassy Long received the loss for Arkansas. Her record moves to 0-1 on the year.