Gator softball earns honors

Five University of Florida softball players were honored by the Southeastern Conference for their play and community service activities as members of All SEC first and second teams, All-Freshman team and Community Service team.

Sophomore Kim Waleszonia (Fontana, Calif.) earned All-SEC first team honors. Waleszonia is a catalyst for the Florida offense as its lead off batter. She is hitting .371 overall and .385 in conference play. Last weekend against Kentucky, Waleszonia set the single season hits record, breaking a record that had stood since 2000. This season she has also tied both the single season and career triples records. Her career batting average of .340 is currently the highest career average in school history. This is the third All-SEC honor of Waleszonia?s career, as she was also named to the All-SEC second team and the All-Freshman team in 2006.

Senior Melissa Zick (Tampa, Fla.) is now the only player in school history to play her way on to an All-SEC team all four years of her career. Zick was voted onto the All-SEC second team. She is hitting .319 overall and .357 in conference games. Sunday against Kentucky, she set a school record as she extended her current hit streak to 14 games. Zick has hit safely in every game since April 14 at Auburn. During that streak, Zick is hitting .512 (22-for-43) with 12 runs scored, 18 RBI, two doubles, a triple and seven home runs.

Sophomore Stacey Nelson (Los Alamitos, Calif.) pitched her way onto the All-SEC second team. Nelson?s current 1.00 ERA is the third lowest season ERA in school history. Her 28 wins on the season are second-most in a season at Florida. In 260.0 innings, Nelson has given up only three home runs. In league play Nelson has just a 1.19 ERA and has held batters to a .176 batting average. She is the Florida record holder for both season and career saves.

Freshman Francesca Enea (Woodland Hills, Calif.) overcame a knee injury to earn her way onto the SEC All-Freshman team. She is third on the team with five home runs. She has had to four-game hit streaks since returning to the Gator lineup, with both of those hit streaks beings against conference teams. She has recorded four game-winning RBI and three game-winning runs on the season.

Junior Mary Ratliff (Mt. Sterling, Ky.) is Florida?s representative on the SEC Community Service team. She serves as the vice president of Florida?s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. Ratliff has volunteered with the March of Dimes Gator Walk, Shands Children’s Hospital/Children’s Miracle Network, Climb for Cancer Sports Camp and Howard Bishop Middle School. She helped to collect food for the Harvest Food Drive in the fall and to collect and deliver new shoes and socks to area children through the Gator Tracks program before Christmas. She has assisted with softball clinics and the Gator Diamond Club Golf Tournament. She also coordinated outreach for the Adopt-A-Team program.

?I am really proud of each one of our athletes? individual accomplishments, head coach Tim Walton said. ?They have had a very good season and it is a tremendous honor to be acknowledged by the Southeastern Conference.?

League champion Tennessee swept all the top individual awards except Freshman of the Year. Monica Abbott was named Pitcher of the Year, India Chiles was named Freshman of the Year, Lindsay Schutzler was named Scholar-Athlete of the Year and Ralph and Karen Weekly were named Coaches of the Year. Mississippi State?s Chelsea Bramlett was named SEC Freshman of the Year.

Florida finished the regular season with a 17-11 record in conference play to earn the No. 4 seed in the SEC Tournament. The Gators will face No. 5 seeded Mississippi State at 6 p.m. ET on Thursday. Florida took two out of three from the Bulldogs in the regular season. Each game in the series was decided by only one run.

All of Florida?s games in the SEC Tournament will be broadcast live on WRUF AM 850 in Gainesville and Live video for all games will be provided free by tournament host Auburn on