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Friday March 3, 2006Softball Splits in First Day of Cox Invitational

Gainesville, FL

The Florida softball team (13-6) split its first two games in the Cox Communications Invitational Friday night at the Florida Softball Stadium. The Gators defeated Central Michigan (2-5), 4-2, in the first game of the day, but fell short in a comeback attempt on Seton Hall (5-5), 4-3, in the night cap.

Florida scored first in the bottom half of the third against Central Michigan. Freshman Brooke Johnson (Lakeland, Fla.) drew a leadoff walk. She came around to score as fellow freshman Kim Waleszonia (Fontana, Calif.) knocked a triple to right field. Waleszonia scored on a junior Melissa Zick (Tampa, Fla.) base hit through the left side with two outs in the inning, giving Florida the 2-0 lead.

The Gators added a third run in the fourth. With the bases loaded and no outs in the inning, senior Laura Templeton (Odessa, Fla.) hit a sacrifice fly to deep center to score junior Lacy Howard (League City, Texas).

Central Michigan scored its first run in the top of the fifth. With two outs and Suzie Giroux on third, Amy Hudson grabbed an infield base hit for a RBI. After a walk to Christan Dhondt, a Gator error allowed Hudson to score from second, making the score 3-2.

Florida went up by two again in the bottom of the fifth. Junior Lauren Roussell (Cerritos, Calif.) drove a base hit up the middle with one out in the inning. She advanced to second on a fielder’s choice play by Howard. Zick was out at third on the play. Senior Lindsay Norfleet (Madison, Fla.) knocked in Roussell for the 4-2 Gator lead.

Junior Stacey Stevens (Gainesville, Fla.) pitched the complete game for the Gators to improve her record to 5-1 on the season. Central Michigan starter Jessica Garvin took the loss to even her record at 1- 1.

Florida could not get its bats going in game two until the top of the final frame with the Gators trailing 4-0. Zick grabbed Florida’s second hit of the game with one out in the seventh. Roussell was hit by a pitch and Howard hit a bloop single to shallow center to load the bases. Templeton hit her second sacrifice fly of the day to score Zick to make the Seton Hall lead three runs at 4-1. Norfleet knocked a hit through the left side to load the bases once again. A two-RBI base hit by Johnson brought the Gators to within one, but the comeback was not in the cards this time as Johnson was caught stealing to end the game.

The Gators got into an early 3-0 deficit in the bottom the second inning. Jenna Best led off the inning with a base hit. With one out in the inning she moved to third on a base hit to right center by Shannon Pease. Florida pitcher Lindsay Littlejohn (Bartow, Fla.) threw Best out at home on a fielder’s choice play to prevent the run from scoring, but leaving runners at first and second for Daria Glynos. Glynos knocked down a base hit to score Pease from second. A double that hugged the third base line cleared the bases and put the Pirates up 3-0.

Seton Hall added another run on a leadoff homer by Katie Pierce in the bottom of the sixth to make the score 4-0.

Florida pitcher Littlejohn struck out nine and did not allow a walk in the loss. Her record now stands even at 4-4. Kim Schweitzer pichted the complete game win for Seton ahll to improve her record to 3-2.

Walezonia was again a spark plug for the Gators offensively, finishing the night 3-for-7 with a run and an RBI in the two games. Norfleet finished the night 2-for-4 with an RBI. Zick also talled a hit in each game with a 2-for-5 performance on the night with a run scored and a RBI.

The Gators will continue Cox Communications Invitational play Saturday afternoon. Florida starts the day against Southern Miss at 12:15 p.m., followed by a 3 p.m. rematch with Seton Hall. The day opens at 10 a.m. with Southern Miss and Central Michigan and ends with Seton Hall and Central Michigan at 5:15 p.m.
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