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Wednesday April 13, 2005Softball Loses to USF in Tampa

Tampa, FL

The No. 15 Florida Softball team (32-11) suffered a 5-2 loss to instate rival South Florida (29-20) in Tampa on Wednesday night. The Gators could not overcome the Bulls sharp hitting and gave away six free bases to contribute to the loss.

South Florida got on the scoreboard first as Krista Holle, the second Bull batter of the game, sent a ball over the left field fence in the bottom of the first. With two outs in the inning, Tiffany Stewart reached first on balls. Sarah Watson was hit by a Mandy Schuerman pitch to put runners at first and second for Carly Griffin. Griffin hit a base hit through the left side to score the speedy Stewart. Griffin and Watson advanced to second and third on the throw to try to catch Stewart at home. Griffin scored on a base hit to shallow right field by Bree Spence to give South Florida a 3-0 lead.

Florida answered back with a run in the top of the second. Kristen butler led off the inning with a base hit up the middle. Stacie Pestrak came in to pinch run for Butler. With one out, Mary Ratliff reached on an error by Bulls' second baseman Watson. Pestrak went all the way to third on the play. Savana Kelly scored Pestrak from third on a RBI ground out to the short stop to narrow USF’s lead to two runs.

The Bulls added two more runs in the bottom of the fourth on a Carmela Liwag home run with a runner on first to give USF the 5-1 lead with no outs In the inning.

The Gators started to make a comeback in the top of the fifth. Michelle Diaz hit a triple to right field with one out. She scored on a base hit up the middle by Shelley Stevens to reduce South Florida’s lead to three runs at 5-2. Things looked good for the Gators, but the Bulls completed a double play on a Lauren Roussell fly ball to end the inning.

Florida made a last effort to win the game in the top of the seventh. Three straight base hits by Kelly, Lacy Howard and Diaz sent South Florida starter Bree Spence out of the game for reliever Kasey Cash. Cask struck out Shelley Stevens and was replaced by Nicole Christensen. The final Florida batter grounded into a double play to end the game with a Florida loss.

Starter Schuerman received the loss for Florida, only her fourth on the season to move her record to 10-4 on the season. Stacey Stevens relieved Schuerman with one out in the second and struck out eight South Florida batters. Spence earned the win for USF with Christensen earning the save.

Florida returns to Southeastern Conference play this weekend as they face No. 7 Tennessee in a three game series in Gainesville. First pitch for Saturday’s doubleheader is 1 p.m.

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