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Freshman Kim Waleszonia came up with clutch to help the Gators to two wins in the GRU Classic.

Saturday February 18, 2006Softball Improves to 5-3 With Two Wins in the GRU Classic

Gainesville, FL

Freshman Kim Waleszonia came up with clutch to help the Gators to two wins in the GRU Classic.

The Florida Softball team (5-3) put together two solid performances in the first day of the GRU Classic on Friday at the Florida Softball Stadium. Florida defeated Penn State (0-2), 3-1, in game one behind a strong pitching performance from freshman Stacey Nelson (Los Alamitos, Calif.). In game two the Gators strung together 14 hits to earn a 13-3 win over Longwood (0-2).

 

In the two games, the Gators left only seven runners on base, an improvement from last weekend, when they left 14 runners on base in the first two games of the tournament in Houston.

 

Nelson got the Gators started right in the top of the first as she sat down the first three Penn State batters in order.

 

The Gators worked the offense in the bottom half of the opening frame to give Nelson a one-run cushion. Senior Lindsey Cameron (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) led off the inning with a base hit to left. She stole second and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by fellow senior Kristen Butler (Orlando, Fla.). Junior Melissa Zick (Tampa, Fla.) knocked Cameron in with a RBI base hit through the left side.

 

Penn State came back to tie the game in the top of the fifth, With two outs and Kelsey Francisco on first, Jen Williams reached on a Florida throwing error that allowed Francisco to advance all the way to third. Jen Acunto drove a base hit through the left side to score Francisco and tie the game at 1-1.

 

A freshman Kim Waleszonia (Fontana, Calif.) two-RBI double in the bottom of the sixth scored Cameron and Butler to give Florida the 3-1 lead. Nelson struck out two of the final three batters she faced to secure the win.

 

Nelson is now 2-1 on the season. She struck out a career-high seven batters in the first complete game of her career.

 

Florida started scoring against Longwood with three runs in the top of the third. Butler hit a three-run homer, her fourth of the season, off the scoreboard to score freshman Brooke Johnson (Lakeland, Fla.) and senior Stacie Pestrak (Gainesville, Fla.) and give her team 3-0 lift.

 

The Gators added eight runs on six hits in the top of the fourth. Waleszonia led off the inning with a walk. Senior Lindsay Norfleet (Madison, Fla.) followed with a base hit. Norfleet and Waleszonia stole second and third to put them in scoring position for junior Shelley Stevens (Gainesville, Fla.). Stevensí infield base hit found her safe at first with Longwood only having a chance to throw Waleszonia out at the plate. The Florida freshman evaded the tag at home to add to the Gatorís lead.

 

Pestrak walked to load the bases. Junior Lauren Roussell (Cerritos, Calif.) pinch hit for Johnson and knocked a double into left center to clear the bases. Johnson re-entered the game to run for Roussell at second and scored on a Zick double. Freshman Alicia Spack (West Lafayette, Ind.) scored another run for the Gators on a double by junior Lacy Howard (League City, Texas). Waleszonia added another hit on the day to score senior Mirelis Torres (Tampa, Fla.). A base hit by senior Laura Templeton (Odessa, Fla.) scored Howard for the final run of the inning, giving Florida a 11-0 lead.

 

Longwood scored a run in the bottom of the fourth on a home run by Ryan Washington.

 

A Howard two-RBI double in the top of the fifth gave Florida the 13-1 lead.

 

Longwood scored two more runs in the bottom half of the inning to end the game at 13-3 in five innings due to the eight-run rule.

 

Junior Stacey Stevens (Gainesville, Fla.) struck out six in 4.1 innings of work to improve her 2006 record to 2-0. Sophomore Lisa Hasson (Seminole, Fla.) came in to pitch the last two thirds of the fifth in relief of Stevens.

 

Ten different Gators had hits in the two games, 11 scored runs and nine knocked in RBI.

 

The Gators have a tough day ahead on Saturday as they face No. 21 DePaul at 1:30 p.m. and No. 1 Michigan at 4 p.m. Both games will be broadcast live on GatorZone.com via yahoo.com. The Michigan game will air live throughout the state of Florida on SunSports.

 

 

 

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