Lady Gators clinch a share of the SEC.
The No. 2 Florida Softball team (58-2, 26-1 SEC) clinched at least a share of the Southeastern Conference regular season title with a doubleheader sweep of No. 13 Tennessee (46-12, 14-11 SEC), 4-2 and 6-5 in 11-innings. The 11-inning game two tied the record for longest game in school history.
The wins were a total team effort, as each of the nine starters in the batting lineup got a hit in the double header, and seven different Gators scored a run. Junior Ali Gardiner (Waccabuc, N.Y.) led the team with five hits on the day. Freshmen Megan Bush (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) and Aja Paculba (Wildomar, Calif.) and junior Danyell Hines (Bryan, Texas) each scored two runs.
Junior Kim Waleszonia (Fontana, Calif.) led off the game with a double to center. With one out, she scored the first run of the game on a single up the middle by Gardiner. Gardiner moved to second on the play as the Lady Vols attempted to throw Waleszonia out at home. A wild pitch to sophomore Francesca Enea (Woodland Hills, Calif.) put Gardiner on third. Bush hit her 11th home run of the season over the scoreboard in left center for the 3-0 lead.
The Lady Vols threatened putting runners in scoring position in the first and second innings, but did not plate a run until the fifth, when they narrowed Florida's lead to just one run. Kenora Posey reached base on an infield base hit. A Gator error put two runners on. With one out, Shannon Doepking reached on a fielder's choice that left all runners safe and the bases loaded. Tiffany Huff drew a walk on a full count to bring in Tennessee's first run on the game. With two outs, Erinn Webb was hit by a pitch, bringing in the second run of the inning, narrowing Florida's lead to 3-2.
Florida scored its final run in the top of the seventh. Sophomore Corrie Brooks (Christmas, Fla.) led off the inning with a double to left. Hines came in to pinch run for Brooks at second. Waleszonia laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Hines to third. Paculba hit a sacrifice fly to left to score Hines for the 4-2 Gator lead.
Junior Stacey Nelson (Los Alamitos, Calif.) and the Gator defense sat down the Lady Vols in order in the bottom of the seventh to ensure the Gator victory. Nelson improved to 36-2 on the year with the win. She struck out eight, while scattering five Lady Vol hits and walking four batters. Ashton Ward pitched the first two innings in the loss for Tennessee, giving up the first three runs on four hits. Danielle Pieroni pitched the final five innings, giving up five hits and one run.
Tennessee got on the board first in game two. Leadoff batter Kenora Posey reached on a Gator error. She advanced to second on a bunt single by Lillian Hammond. Tonya Callahan's base hit down the left field line scored Posey for the 1-0 Lady Vol lead.
The Gators tied the game at 1-1 in the next half inning. With one out freshman Tiffany DeFelice (Coral Springs, Fla.) hit a solo home run, her seventh of the season.
Florida added three more runs in the fifth to take a 4-1 lead. Paculba drew a one-out walk. Gardiner hit a RBI double off the center field wall to give the Gators the one-run lift. Bush hit another two run homer, her second of the day and 12 of the season gave the Gators the three-run lead.
Tennessee tied the game again in the bottom of the sixth. With one out, Chandra Mogan drew a walk from Nelson, who replaced freshman starter Stephanie Brombacher (Pembroke Pines) in the fifth. With two outs, Hammond reached on an infield base hit. A second walk, this one to Callahan, loaded the bases. Doepking hit a two-RBI base hit to left to reduce Florida's lead to just one run. Huff's base hit up the middle to score Callahan tied the game.
The game stayed knotted until the top of the 10th. Junior Le-Net Franklin (Belton, Texas) started the inning at second due to international tiebreaker rules. Junior Kristina Hilberth (Dunedin) walked. Both runners moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by Brooks. Waleszonia's sacrifice fly Tennessee was not ready to give up yet as they tied the game again in the bottom of the inning. Mogan started at second. With one out, Hammond singled to third, putting runners at first and third. Callahan drove a base hit to left to bring in the game-tying run. Sharp Gator defense turned the six-four-three double play to end the inning and send the game to the 11th.
Florida was in good position in the 11th as the team's leading run scorer, Paculba, started the inning at second. She advanced to second on a wild pitch, putting her just 60 feet from the win. With one out, Enea's sacrifice fly brought in Paculba to score what would be the game winning run.
Nelson pitched her second seven innings of the day to earn the win and improve to 37-2. She gave up seven hits and struck out seven batters, while giving up four of the five Tennessee runs. Brombacher pitched the first four innings for the Gators, striking out four and giving up five hits. Megan Rhodes went the distance for Tennessee, giving up the six Gator runs on seven hits. She struck out 14, while walking 10.
Alabama also swept Georgia today, by scores of 12-3 and 10-1. A win by Florida or a loss by Alabama tomorrow will give the Gators the 2008 SEC title outright.
The final game between the two teams begins on Sunday at 1 p.m.
Track and field
No. 4/7 T&F Wraps Up Regular Season With Successful Mississippi Open
OXFORD, Miss. – Senior Wes Stockbarger (Port Charlotte, Fla.) and sophomore Evelien Dekkers (Etten-Leur, The Netherlands) set Ole Miss Track & Field Complex records on Saturday and the No. 4 (men)/7 (women) University of Florida track & field team won 10 events at the Mississippi Open in its final tune-up before the Southeastern Conference Outdoor Championships.
"After dealing with the stress of finals week, we came out and competed hard in an effort to get more regional marks on the board," Florida head coach Mike Holloway said. "Both the men and women have stated all year long that the goal is to improve each time out, and they did that today.
We always try to build momentum heading into the championship season, so this was a good stepping stone for us today."
Dekkers kicked off the day in fine fashion for UF, breaking the facility record with a winning heave of 51.41m/168-8, while classmate Star Sansone (Boca Raton) finished third with a mark of 44.82m/147-0.
The Florida men also opened the day with a win in the javelin, as junior Adam Montague (Townsville, Australia) paced the field with a throw of 76.53m/251-1. He was joined in the top 10 by sophomore Mike Morrison (Chesapeake, Va.), who finished fourth with a toss of 59.41m/194-11, and freshman Doug Nelson (Tampa), who took sixth with a mark of 59.06m/193-9.
The Gators' winning ways continued in the women's pole vault, as freshman Daisy Glasser (Atlantic Beach, Fla.) tied her own UF freshman record with a first-place clearance of 3.85m/12-7.50, six inches better than the runner-up finisher.
The Gators jump started their schedule of running events on Saturday with a win in the men's 4x100m, as the squad of freshman Chris Rainey (Lakeland), freshman Terrell Wilks (New Haven, Conn.), sophomore Jeremy Hall (Jacksonville) and senior Bernard Middleton (Jacksonville) posted an NCAA regional-qualifying time of 39.59 to take the victory. The performance was the second-best by a UF foursome this season, and gave the Orange and Blue three different units qualified for the NCAA East Regional in Tallahassee.
Senior Kristen Johnson (Atlanta, Ga.) and freshman Kaitlin Shiver (Satellite Beach, Fla.) turned in a 1-2 finish in the UF women's first running event of the day, with the former leading the way in a season-best time of 4:31.76. Shiver crossed the line just five one-hundredths of a second later to earn runner-up honors (4:31.81).
Senior Eric Alberter (Belleville, Ill.) and outdoor sophomore Carlos Phillips (Winter Park) later teamed up to sweep the top two spots in the men's 800m, as Alberter grabbed the win after besting his previous PR by more than a second with a regional-qualifying output of 1:48.94. Phillips recorded a season-best and regional-qualifying time of 1:49.28 in the process of finishing second.
The Gators pulled off another 1-2 sweep later in the afternoon, as redshirt freshman Eric Foran (Ft. Lauderdale) won the pole vault at a height of 4.90m/16-0.75, and junior Justin Semeyn (Tampa) cleared the same mark and took second due to previous misses.
Junior Kallinka Pitt (Largo) exploded for a career-best time of 13.78 in the 110m hurdles to pace the collegiate field and finish second overall, moving into a tie with reigning 400m hurdles world champion Kerron Clement for sixth in school history. Junior Dennis Martin (Anderson, S.C.) finished third overall, and second among collegians, in the event with a time of 13.99. Hall took the track later and posted another win for the Gators, taking the 100m with a time of 10.35, coming up just shy of his season best.
"We've seen these kinds of results from Kallinka in practice, and it was great to see them come out in competition," Holloway said. "He's set some important goals for himself this year, and right now he's on track to accomplish them. There's more that Kallinka can get out of himself, and he'll be the first to say that."
As the meet moved to the early evening, Stockbarger became the second UF athlete to set a facility record on Saturday when he unleashed a winning toss of 60.94m/199-11 in the men's discus. The effort represents a season best for Stockbarger, and ranks seventh in the NCAA this season.
Junior Beau Burroughs (Tampa) captured the third throws victory of the day for Florida when he used a career-best and NCAA regional-qualifying toss of 17.74m/58-2.50 to pace the field in the men's shot put.
Shara Proctor (The Valley, Anguilla) added a runner-up finish in the women's long jump (6.34m/20-9.75), and classmate Mariam Kevkhishvili (Tbilisi, Georgia) recorded a third-place finish in the women's shot put with a toss of 17.19m/56-4.75. Seniors Chinelo Ubaka (Tallahassee) and Shawneise Williams (Archer, Fla.) placed third and fifth, respectively, in the women's hammer throw with marks of 53.97m/177-1 and 53.12m/174-3.
Senior Lakecia Ealey (Albany, Ga.) took third in the women's 100m with a time of 11.97, while freshman LaMarr Davis (Knightdale, N.C.) chipped in with a fifth-place finish in the men's 400m with a career-best time of 47.35, narrowly missing the first NCAA regional mark of his career, while Middleton finished seventh in 47.48. Senior Abigail David (Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago) registered a career-best and NCAA regional-qualifying time of 54.41 in the 400m, finishing sixth.
Florida will be idle until Thursday, May 15, when the SEC Outdoor Championships get underway in Auburn, Ala. Live results will be available via www.GatorZone.com.
No. 12 South Carolina Rallies To Down No. 22 Florida, 6-5
COLUMBIA, S.C. – A bases-loaded, two-run single by South Carolina junior James Darnell (3-for-4, four RBI) in the seventh inning lifted the No. 12 Gamecocks (32-15/12-11 SEC) to a 6-5 victory over No. 22 Florida (28-17/13-10 SEC) on Saturday at Sarge Frye Field to even the teams' weekend series.
Junior Will Atwood (5-2) hurled a complete game, allowing 11 hits and five runs, and retired 15 of the final 16 batters he faced. The lefty matched his career high of seven strikeouts and was backed by a 13-hit outburst. Following five-straight games without a miscue, the Gators committed three errors and have now dropped five one-run games in conference play. UF will send junior right-hander Patrick Keating (Harrisburg, Ill.) (8-0, 2.69) to the mound in tomorrow's finale at 1:30 p.m., live on CSS, against USC righty Blake Cooper (5-4, 3.52).
Freshman Riley Cooper (Clearwate) provided the Gators with a 2-0 lead in the second with his first career SEC hit, a two-run homer to right center field. Senior Dustin Bamberg (Winter Haven) had singled with two down off Atwood and Cooper bashed a 3-1 pitch out of the yard. After a walk to junior Teddy Foster (Jacksonville), junior Avery Barnes (High Springs) (3-for-5) stung a ball down the right-field line. Foster attempted to score all the way from first but was cut down on a relay from senior right fielder Harley Lail to freshman second baseman Scott Wingo to senior catcher Phil Disher.
Darnell led off the bottom part of the stanza with his 14th round-tripper to left off junior Stephen Locke (Tampa) to cut the deficit in half. UF moved in front, 3-1, in the third on a two-out RBI single by sophomore Matt den Dekker (Ft. Lauderdale). Sophomore Cole Figueroa (Tallahassee) poked a one-out hit, swiped second and had advanced to third on a fly-out by senior Brandon McArthur (Seffner).
Aided by a critical two-out error, the Gamecocks evened the score in the home part of the third. Locke retired the first two batters before junior Reese Havens extended his hitting streak to 17 games with a single through the right side. Senior third baseman Jon Townsend (London, Ky.) muffed freshman Whit Merrifield's grounder, giving USC two men aboard, and junior Justin Smoak had a run-scoring single into left field. Although Darnell doubled to left center to plate Merrifield with the tying run, Smoak was nailed at the dish on a relay from Barnes to Figueroa to Foster.
The Gators seized a 5-3 lead in the fourth with four-straight two-out singles. Foster kicked things off with an infield hit to short and Barnes pushed his teammate over with a knock up the middle. Adams roped an RBI single into left to put the visitors on top and Figueroa's smash ricocheted off Atwood's leg to score Barnes.
USC closed to within 5-4 in the fifth but had the tying run erased at home plate to end the frame. Merrifield bunted for a single with one down but Townsend threw the ball away, resulting in the runner taking second. Moments later, Smoak bashed an RBI double to left to end the afternoon for Locke. The lefty gave up eight hits and four runs (two earned) over 4.1 innings. Senior Josh Edmondson (LaGrange, Ga.) fanned Darnell and yielded a single into left by Disher. However, Barnes delivered a strike to Townsend, who was able to get the throw to Foster in time to tag out Smoak.
The Gamecocks grabbed their first lead of the afternoon on Darnell's bases-loaded single in the seventh that scored a pair. Edmondson issued a one-out walk to Havens before surrendering a double to Merrifield.
With first base open, Smoak was walked intentionally and the move backfired when Darnell roped a two-run single into left field for a 6-5 USC lead. Edmondson prevented further trouble by strikSophomore Clint Franklin (Orlando) replaced Edmondson (3-3, 2.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R) prior to the eighth and struck out junior Andrew Crisp before permitting a single to sophomore Kyle Enders. Sophomore Tony Davis (Cooper City, Fla.) was summoned from the bullpen and had Wingo ground into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play.
South Carolina held a 13-11 advantage in hits, led by three apiece from Merrifield and Darnell. Barnes and Figueroa (2-for-4) turned in multiple-hit outings for the Gators, who had eight of their nine starters record at least one hit.
Lady Bulls sweep a doubleheader.
PROVIDENCE, RI - The University of South Florida softball team took a pair of wins against the Providence Friars this afternoon in Rhode Island, 5-4 and 5-1.
With the sweep, the Bulls (42-17, 16-4) remain atop of the BIG EAST Standings going into tomorrow's season-ending doubleheader against Connecticut.
In game one, sophomore Alison Savarese put the Bulls up early with a two-out, three-RBI homerun in the first inning.
In the top of the second, Tara Toscano reached home on Britta Giddens' single to put the Bulls up 4-0. Toscano reached first after drawing a walk, and advanced to second on Kit Dunbar's infield single.
Savarese led off the third with a single to second and scored on freshman Kelly McCarver's left line single.
Starter Courtney Mosch held off the Friars for two innings before Providence took advantage of a bases on balls and an error to cut the deficit to 5-2.
Providence added two more runs in the fourth to get within one, but relief pitcher Capri Catalano struck out the last batter to finish the inning.
The right-handed pitcher shut out the Friars in the bottom of the fourth striking out all three batters in order.
In the sixth, Providence's Katelyn Revens hit a double to deep center, but a joined defensive relay effort from Aya Nakajima, Giddens, and Savarese put her out at third. Catalano struck out the third batter to end the inning.
Savarese went 2-for-4, with three RBI and two runs. Giddens finished 2-for-3, one run and one RBI.
Catalano was awarded the win to improve to 15-1. In three and one-third innings pitched, the freshman pitcher struck out seven, allowed just one hit and gave up two walks.
Just like she did in game one, Savarese opened up the scoring in the first inning with a left field double that sent Giddens home.
The Friars tied the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the first.
Dunbar put the Bulls ahead on JoJo Medina's double to left centerfield in the third. USF added two more runs in the fourth to take a 4-1 lead over Providence.
Mosch drove a home run out of left center field in the top of the fifth to expand the lead, 5-1.
In the circle, Mosch kept the Friars off the board for three and one-third innings before Catalano came out of the bullpen.
Mosch (17-7) picked up the win in game two, while Catalano recorded her sixth save of the season.
Mosch finished 2-for-4, with one run and one RBI in game two. Medina drew two walks and went 1-for-2, with two RBI.
The Bulls will conclude the regular season schedule on Sunday at Connecticut. The double header is scheduled for 12 p.m.