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Sunday March 5, 2006Softball Wins Cox Communications Invitational

Gainesville, FL

Florida junior Lacy Howard (League City, Texas) went 4-for-5 with six RBI in Floridaís final two wins in the Cox Communications Invitational on Sunday afternoon. With the Gators 3-1 win over Southern Mississippi and 8-0, five-inning win over Central Michigan, Florida won the tournament with a 5-1 record on the weekend.

 

Southern Miss put across the first run of game one in the top of the first. With two outs, Jessica Huerta grabbed a freshman Stacey Nelson (Los Alamitos, Calif.) offering for a base hit up the middle. Huerta scored on an Ashley Davis triple down the right field line for a Golden Eagle 1-0 lead.

 

Florida answered back with two runs in the bottom half of the inning. Freshman Kim Waleszonia (Fontana, Calif.) drew a leadoff walk from Southern Miss starting pitcher Krystal Crooks. With two outs, junior Melissa Zick (Tampa, Fla.) was hit by a Crooks pitch. Junior Lauren Roussell (Cerritos, Calif.) reached on an error by the Golden Eagles third baseman. A Howard base hit up the middle scored Walezonia and Zick for the 2-1 Gator lead.

 

The Gators added a cushion run in the bottom of the third as Roussell scored on a Howard double to center to put Florida up 3-1.

 

Southern Miss threatened to score in the top of the sixth as it loaded the bases with no outs in the inning. Waleszonia turned a double play to prevent a run from scoring and give the Gators two outs as Allison Bullard flew out to right field and Waleszonia gunned down Huerta at the plate.

 

Nelson earned her sixth win of the season for the Gators, making her record 6-1. Crooks took the loss for Southern Miss.

 

Howard started in game two where she left off in game one. With the bases loaded in the top of the opening frame, she blasted a triple to the centerfield wall to give Florida the early 3-0 lead.

 

Florida added five more runs in the top of the fourth. With one out, freshman Alicia Spack (West Lafayette, Ind.) knocked a base hit to center field. She scored on a triple by freshman Brooke Johnson (Lakeland, Fla.). Waleszonia drew a two-out walk to extend the Gator at bat. Senior Lindsey Cameron (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) blasted a shot at the Central Michigan short stop to score Johnson and put runners at first and second for fellow senior Kristen Butler (Orlando, Fla.). Butler hit her ninth home run of the year, a three-run bomb to left center to put Florida up 8-0.

 

Stacey Stevens pitched four innings in the win to improve her record to 7-1 on the year. Sophomore Lisa Hasson (Seminole, Fla.) came in to pitch the final inning. Ali Pettit took the loss for Central Michigan.

 

Florida head coach Tim Walton was able to put in his entire roster in the two games.

 

Florida begins Southeastern Conference play on Tuesday night against Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The Gators and the Tide will play a doubleheader beginning at 6 p.m. ET on Tuesday. The series wraps up with a single game at 3 p.m. on Wednesday.

 

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