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Saturday May 7, 2005Softball Scores 24 Runs in Sweep of Kentucky

Lexington, KY

The No. 23 Florida Softball team (40-19, 17-12 SEC) ensured the sixth 40 win season in the nine-year history of the program with a doubleheader sweep of Kentucky (20-40, 4-24) in Lexington on Saturday. The Gator won both games by the eight-run mercy rule in six innings, winning the first 13-1 and using a seven-run sixth to take the second game 11-3.

Florida took an early lead in the top of the first in game one. Melissa Zick started a two out Florida rally by drawing a walk. She stole second as Mandy Schuerman took ball three to take her count to full. Schuerman took ball four to runners on first and second for Kristen Butler. Butler blasted a three-run homer over centerfield to give the Gators a 3-0 lead.

Florida pitcher Stacey Stevens struggled in first inning, falling behind in the count to five of seven batters in the inning, allowing Kentucky to reduce the Gator lead to two runs. Megan Cooper led off the inning with a base hit up the middle. With one out, Amber Janneck was hit by a Stevens pitch. Jessica Nance poked a base hit to center to score Cooper from second to make the score 3-1 in favor of the Gators. Alli Eckman loaded the bases for Kentucky as she drew a two out walk. Stevens got herself out of the jam though, as she caught the final batter of the inning looking to end the inning.

In the top of the second, Florida leadoff batter Lauren Roussell was hit by a Samantha Allen pitch. Lacy Howard followed with a base hit down the left field line. Stacie Pestrak added a bunt single to load the bases for Lindsey Cameron. Cameron who had only been 1for-8 since returning from a broken wrist, took a 2-1 Allen offering over the fence five feet inside the left foul pole for the second grand slam of her career, giving the Gators a 7-1 lead.

The Gators added another run in the top of the fifth. Zick led off the inning with a double that bounced off the right field wall. Mandy Schuerman followed with a base hit down the left field line. Zick went two third and rounded to head home. Florida head coach Karen Johns took a chance, sent Zick home and Zick slid under the tag to give the Gators an 8-1 lead.

Florida took advantage of the eight-run mercy rule in the top of the sixth. Pestrak got her second hit of the day with a leadoff triple. Cameron picked up her fifth RBI of the game on a base hit through the left side to score Pestrak and put the Gators up by eight runs. Lisa Hasson, Pinch hitting for Shelley Stevens reached base on an error by the Kentucky short stop. Laura Templeton entered the game to pinch hit for Melissa Zick and grabbed a 2-1 pitch to take it over the left field fence for her first hit on the season to give Florida a 12-1 lift. With one out in the inning, Butler continued the Gator rally with a double and advanced to third on an error on the relay by the Cats second baseman. She scored on a Savana Kelly base hit to center field for a 12 run Florida lead.

The Gators retired the final three Kentucky batters to ensure the 13-1 Florida win.

Despite her shaky start, Stacey Stevens finished the game with eight strikeouts to earn the complete game win. Her record improves to 23-11 on the year, tying with Jenny Gladding for the second most wins in a season. Samantha Allen pitched the complete game in the loss for Kentucky to move her record to 12-16.

Templeton’s home run was the 42nd home run of the season for the Gators to set a new record for home runs in a season. Florida’s 13 RBI in the game is the second most ever by a Gator team in SEC play.

Florida started game two in much the same way as they did game one. Cameron led off the game with a base hit. After a Shelley Stevens out, Zick knocked a homer over the left field fence to give the Gators an early 2-0 lead.

Cooper drew a lead off walk in the bottom of the first for Kentucky. With one out, Janneck grabbed a Schuerman offering for a base hit to put runners on first and second for the Cats. A Nance double scored Cooper to narrow Florida’s lead to just one run.

Florida went up 3-1 on a Savana Kelly lead off home run in the top of the second.

Kentucky tied the game in the bottom of the third. With one out, Ashley Fertic hit a base hit up the middle. Janneck followed with a second consecutive base hit. Both runners moved into scoring position on a Nance ground out. Fertic and Janneck scored on an Eckman base hit to tied the game at 3-3.

Florida took a big lead again in the top of the fifth, as they batted through the lineup before Kentucky made the first out. Savana Kelly led off the inning with a base hit to left. Mary Ratliff, a Mount Sterling, Ky. native, got a pinch hit double to score Kelly in her first homecoming as a Gator. The game one started, Allen entered the game in relief of kentucky starter Amy Kendall. Two consecutive errors by the Kentucky shortstop loaded the bases with Gators. Cameron knocked Kelly in from third with a base hit up the middle. A pinch hit double by Templeton scored two more runs. Katie Warneke became the third Kentucky pitcher of the inning as she came in for Allen. A second consecutive double by Zick added two more runs for Florida. Schuerman continued the Gator rally as she walked. Michelle Diaz came in the game to pinch run for her. Butler singled through the left side to load the bases with Gators once again. In her second at bat of the inning, Kelly reached on a fielder’s choice and Zick was thrown out at home for the first out of the inning. Ratliff grabbed her second hit and second RBI of the inning on a base hit to score Diaz and put the Gators ahead 11-3.

Florida reliever Stacey Stevens walked the first Kentucy batter of the sixth inning, but retired the next three batters to end the game.

Schuerman pitched four innings to earn the win for Florida and improve her record to 12-6 on the year. Stevens got the save, her fourth of the year. Kendall got the loss for Kentucky to move her record to 2-7.

Florida scored 24 runs on 28 hits with 24 RBI in the doubleheader. The 16 hits in game two are the most this season. Ten Gators had two or more hits, six had two or more RBI and eight scored two or more runs in the two-game set.

The regular-season finale begins Sunday at 1 p.m. There will be a one hour pre-game show beginning at 11:50 a.m. on via hosted by Florida Softball radio personalities DJ Driscoll and Brian Casey. The pre-game show will include season review and highlights and interviews with the four Gator seniors and Head Coach Karen Johns.

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