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Friday February 24, 2006Zick Sets School Record in 11-10 Softball Win

Gainesville, FL

University of Florida junior Melissa Zick (Tampa, Fla.) hit for seven RBI as the Gators (10-5) came from behind to defeat Illinois (4-6), 11-10, in nine innings in the first game of the NFCA Leadoff Classic in Columbus, Ga. Zick’s seven RBI set a school and Leadoff Classic record for RBI in a game.


Florida scored right away in the bottom of the first. Senior Lindsey Cameron (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) drew a walk with one out to get the Gators started. Junior Melissa Zick (Tampa, Fla.) knocked a double to right center to score Cameron from first and give the Gators a 1-0 lead.


Illinois went ahead 3-1 in the top of the second frame on four straight two-out base hits.


A solo home run by IllinoisAngelena Mexicano in the top of the third put the Gators down by three at 4-1.


The Gators tied the game in the bottom of the third. Freshman Kim Waleszonia (Fontana, Calif.) led off the inning with a bunt single. Senior Kristen Butler (Orlando, Fla.) drew a walk with one out in the inning. Zick stepped up to the plate and hit a three-run homer over left center to tie the game at 4-4.


Illinois doubled the Gators score at 8-4 in the top of the fifth. Shanna Diller led off the inning with a base hit. Freshman Lindsay Littlejohn (Bartow, Fla.) entered the game to relieve starter freshman Stacey Nelson (Los Alamitos, Calif.) in the pitching circle for the Gators. A walk by Jenna Hall put runners at first and second. Both runners advanced on a Kacey Coonce ground out to short. Mexicano hit a double down the left field line to clear the bases and put the Illini up 6-4. Molly Lawhead took a Littlejohn offering over the fence for the 8-4 Illinois advantage.


A Cameron base hit and a Butler walk, brought Zick up again in the bottom of the fifth frame. Zick grabbed her second three-run homer of the game to close the Illinois lead to just one.


A solo home run by Hall stretched Illinois’ lead to two runs. 9-7, in the top of the sixth.


Kristen Butler hit her eighth home run of the season to lead of the bottom of the seventh inning. Zick’s fourth hit of the game was a base hit up the middle. She stole second to move into scoring position. She moved to third on a ground out by junior Lauren Roussell (Cerritos, Calif.). Junior Lacy Howard (League City, Texas) knocked the game-tying hit down the left field line to score Zick and knot the game at 9-9.


Neither team was able to push a run across in the eighth inning. Illinois scored in the ninth, leaving the game decision up to the Gators in the bottom of the inning. Waleszonia was placed at second to begin the inning due to international tie-breaker rules. She moved to third on a base hit by Cameron. A Butler sacrifice fly to center scored Waleszonia to tie the game once more. Cameron moved to third on the play, after stealing second during Butler’s at bat. Zick was intentionally walked, bringing up Roussell with Cameron representing the winning run at third. Roussell’s hit to right field was all Cameron needed to come home and give the Gators the 11-10 win.


Littlejohn was credited with the win for the Gators to move her record to 4-3 on the year. Illinois reliever Coonce received the loss to make her record 1-4.


In addition to her seven RBI, Zick’s four hits were a career high and she tied her career high with three runs scored. Cameron also tied her career-high with three runs scored, while Butler set a new career high with three runs.


The Gators will play again this evening as they face instate foe Florida Atlantic at approximately 7:30 p.m.



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