Tuesday March 29, 2005No. 15 Softball Splits Midweek Doubleheader With No. 10 Alabama
The No. 13/15 Florida softball team (28-7, 7-1 SEC) split a doubleheader with No. 10/11 Alabama (37-8, 10-4 SEC) at the Florida Softball Stadium Tuesday. Florida dropped the first game 5-3 but rallied to capture the second game 6-4 in eight innings.
With one runner on base, pinch hitter Mirelis Torres drove a 1-0 pitch over the wall in left field to secure the extra-inning victory for the Gators. Florida opened the bottom half of the eighth inning with a walk by second baseman Savana Kelly. She was replaced by pinch runner Nikki Baldwin. Torres’ walk-off home run was only the second home run of her career, both as a pinch hitter. Her blast helped the Gators improve to 3-0 in extra inning games this season.
Florida fell behind early in the second game. Starting pitcher Mandy Schuerman walked four batters in the first inning, allowing Crimson Tide first baseman Dani Woods to draw an RBI walk, which gave the team a 1-0 lead. During the ensuing at bat, Alabama right fielder Capper Reed hit a double down the first base line, driving in two more runs for the Crimson Tide.
The Gators got on the board in the bottom of the first inning with a solo home run by short stop Lauren Roussell. In the next at bat, Florida second baseman Stacie Pestrak advanced to first base on wild pitch after being called out on strikes. An errant throw by Alabama short stop Dominique Accetturo allowed Pestrak to narrow the Florida deficit to 3-2.
Schuerman settled down after surrendering three earned runs in the first inning. She retired 11 batters in a row and did not allow another hit until the sixth inning.
Florida grabbed its first lead of the game at 4-3 on a two-run home run by first baseman Melissa Zick, her third of the season. Alabama evened the score at 4-4 in the top of the sixth with an RBI double by designated player Stephanie VanBrakle.
Schuerman was relieved by Stacey Stevens after VanBrakle’s game-tying hit. After pitching 5.2 innings and allowing four earned runs, Schuerman’s ERA increased to 0.99 on the season. Stacey Stevens pitched 2.1 innings in relief, without allowing an earned run. The win improved her record to 15-5 on the season.
In the top of the sixth, Stevens worked out of a two-out jam with the leading run at third base. She struck out the side in the seventh inning, recording four strikeouts in total on the game.
The Gators threatened in the bottom of the seventh, but Alabama pitcher Chrissy Owens got Ratliff to strike out with bases loaded. Owens was charged with her second loss of the season (7-2) after surrendering the blast to Torres in the bottom of the eighth. The Gators’ three home runs in the game were the most they have hit at their own field in the nine-year history of the program.
During the opener of the three game set, the Crimson Tide rode the momentum of three solo home runs to end the Gators’ 13-game winning streak.
With one out in the top of the first, catcher Ashley Courtney drove a Stacy Stevens pitch over the right field wall to give Alabama a 1-0 lead. In the bottom of the first, the Gators evened the score with an RBI groundout by Zick. Lindsey Cameron secured Florida’s first lead of the game at 2-1 in the same inning, taking advantage of an error by Alabama second baseman Leah White.
Alabama starting pitcher, Van Brakle, sat on a Stacey Stevens change up in the second inning and drove it over the left field fence, tying the score at 2-2. The Crimson Tide grabbed their second lead of the game in the fourth inning when Accetturo hit Alabama’s third solo home run of the day. Florida fought back in the fourth inning when Zick led off with a single. She later stole second base and scored on an error by White.
An RBI double by Alabama third baseman Staci Ramsey proved to be the game-winning run. Her hit scored Courtney from first base and gave the Crimson Tide a 4-3 lead. In the seventh, Stevens threw a wild pitch during an intentional walk scenario, allowing Alabama to increase their lead to 5-3. She was charged with her fifth loss of the season (14-5) after allowing five earned runs.
Alabama starting pitcher VanBrakle pitched a complete game victory, improving her record to 17-4 on the season. She did not allow a hit after the fourth inning.
Cameron’s eight-game hitting streak came to an end after going 0-for-3 from the plate in game one. Zick improved her hit streak to seven games with a combined 3-for-6 performance on the night that included three RBI, two runs scored and a home run.
The two teams play the rubber match of the series tomorrow at 2 p.m. ET at the Florida Softball Stadium. It will be broadcast live onwww.GatorZone.com and on GatorVision Online. Admission to Florida Softball games is free.