Sunday April 24, 2005Softball Shutout in Series Finale
The No. 16/16 Florida Softball Team (36-13, 15-6) dropped the finale of a three game set, 3-0, against SEC foe Mississippi State (31-24, 11-15) Saturday afternoon at the Florida Softball Stadium.
Three Mississippi State solo home runs and strong pitching proved the difference in the Bulldog’s victory.
Mississippi State starting pitcher Kelli Miller (12-9, 8-5) threw a complete-game shutout, allowing eight Gator hits.
Florida was shutout for the first time this season in conference play. The Gator pitching staff was tagged for 10 hits in the defeat.
Florida threatened first in the bottom half of the second inning. Gator starting pitcher Mandy Schuerman led off with a single to left-center field. She was replaced by pinch runner Lindsay Norfleet. First baseman Savana Kelly recorded a bunt single to give the Gators runners on first and second with no outs. Next, designated player Lisa Hasson moved the runners over to second and third with a sacrifice bunt. However, right fielder Michelle Diaz’s line out to Mississippi State second baseman Callye Williams ended the threat as Williams doubled up first baseman Melissa Zick who was running on the hit.
After pitching 2.0 scoreless innings, Schuerman was replaced by Stacey Stevens. In the top of third, the Bulldog’s jumped out to an early 1-0 lead on a Katie Cooley solo home run. Two batters later, Mississippi State short stop Courtney Bures added another solo shot off Stevens to increase the Gator deficit to 2-0.
The Gators threatened again in the bottom of the third inning. Baldwin led off with a double to right field. Short stop Lauren Roussell advanced Baldwin to third with a sacrifice bunt. However, the Gators stranded Baldwin at third as Miller got Stacey Stevens to ground out and Zick to fly out.
Mississippi State designated player Katie Johnson increased the Bulldog lead to 3-0 with a solo home run off Stevens. After allowing three solo home runs on the afternoon, tying a season-high for home runs allowed in a game, Stevens was replaced by Amanda Knowles. Sunday’s action was the first time Knowles had pitched since March 19 at Arkansas. Knowles pitched 2.0 innings of scoreless softball, striking out three Bulldog batters.
With one out in the bottom of the seventh, third baseman Stacie Pestrak hit an infield single. During the ensuing at bat, Diaz followed with a single to shallow center field. However, Miller worked out of the jam by getting Baldwin to ground out to first. Roussell’s liner to short stop Bures ended the game.
Stacey Stevens (21-8) was charged with the loss.
Despite Sunday’s defeat, the Gators captured the series against the Bulldogs with two victories on Saturday. Florida remains in third-place in the SEC overall standings.
The Gators will travel to Auburn on Tuesday for a mid-week series. Florida will play a doubleheader against the Tigers on Tuesday at 4 p.m. Before traveling back to Gainesville on Wednesday, the Gators will play the finale of the three-game set at 1 p.m. Live stats will be provided via Gatorzone.com and audio feed will be available on Gatorzone.com via Yahoo.com.