Gator softball defeats Longwood 5-0

The No. 22 Florida softball team defeated Longwood 5-0 Sunday at the Florida Softball Stadium. The shutout win improves the Gators’ record to 37-18 for the season.

The Gators were led by senior Melissa Zick (Tampa, Fla.) who extended her season-high hitting streak to six games. Zick hit a home run and a triple to lead Florida past the Lancers. Sophomore Stacey Nelson (Los Alamitos, Calif.) struck out eight batters to help Florida secure the shutout.

The Gators defense contributed early in the game. In the top of the first with one out and Longwood runners on first and second base, senior Lauren Roussell (Cerritos, Calif.) turned an unassisted double play to get the Gators out of the inning.

With the score tied 0-0 in the bottom of the second inning, Zick put the Gators on the board with her eighth homerun of the year, a solo shot to left field.

The Gators tacked on three more runs in the bottom of the third inning. Roussell drew a walk to start the Gator rally. An error by the Longwood pitcher allowed sophomore Ali Gardiner (Waccabuc, N. Y.) to reach second and Roussell to move to third. Freshman Francesca Enea (Woodland Hills, Calif.) drew a walk to load the bases for Florida. With two outs, junior Mary Ratliff (Mt. Sterling, Ky.) ripped a double to right center field to score Roussell and Gardiner and move Enea to third. A wild pitch allowed Enea to score to give Florida a 4-0 lead.

Florida added their final run in the bottom of the sixth inning. Sophomore Brooke Johnson (Lakeland, Fla.) came in to pinch run for Enea, who drew a walk with two outs. Johnson came around to score when Zick hammered a triple, her second of the season, into left center field.

Senior Stacey Stevens (Gainesville, Fla.) came in to relieve Nelson in the fifth and threw three no-hit innings to pick up her first save of the season.

Florida will be on the road at South Carolina for a doubleheader on Tuesday beginning at 4 p. m. Both games of the doubleheader will be televised live on Cox Sports and will also be broadcast live on WRUF AM

850 and www. wruf. com. The Gators will return home to face Mississippi State in the final home three-game series on Friday and Saturday.