CLEARWATER — The third-ranked Florida Gators completed their first softball weekend of the season Sunday, earning a 12-8 win over USF and a 7-2 win over Long Island University in the USF Wilson-DeMarini Tournament at the Eddie C. Moore Complex. The Gators, who made it to the NCAA championship game last season, split their two games Saturday and finished the weekend 3-1. (UF sports information department contributed to this story)
All-American Francesca Enea drove in four runs with a home run and a double in game one. She hit her third homer of the season, a grand slam, in the game two win over LIU.
Stephanie Brombacher gave up 11 hits and struck out 10 to earn the win in game one. Brombacher (2-1) got the win in game two, pitching 1-1/3 innings while striking out three in relief of freshman Erin Schuppert.
The Gators got off to a 3-0 lead in the first inning of game one against USF. Aja Paculba and Brittany Schutte drew walks to start the game and Enea followed with a three-run homer over the left field fence. Tiffany DeFelice and Corrie Brooks singled later in the inning but the Gators couldn’t get them home.
Florida added two more in the second, as Schutte reached on an error and Enea followed with a run-scoring double to center. Enea moved to third on a passed ball and scored on Kelsey Bruder’s ground out to shortstop.
The Gators padded their lead with two more in the third. Megan Bush drew a one-out walk and Michelle Mountrie beat out a bunt. Bush and Moultrie pulled off a double steal and came home on a single by Paculba.
In the fourth, the Gators added another run when DeFelice walked on a full count and Brooks drove her in on a double to right field.
USF rallied to cut Florida’s lead to 8-5 in the bottom of the fifth, four runs scoring on a grand slam by Alison Savarese. The Gators fired back with three runs in sixth. Enea drew a walk and Lauren Heil came in to pinch run. Bruder hit a blooper over the shortstop’s head and DeFelice laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt to move both runners into scoring position.
Brooks drove Heil home with a double and Bush hit a sacrifice fly to center to drive in Bruder. . Bush then hit a long sac fly to center to
bring Bruder home. Moultrie singled to center to score Brooks, giving the Gators the 11-5 advantage.
After the Bulls rallied for three in the bottom of the sixth, the Gators added an insurance run in the top of the seventh. Schutte walked and moved to second on an Enea ground out. Bruder followed with a single up the middle to send Schutte home and close out Florida’s scoring.
In game two, freshman Erin Schuppert went five scoreless innings in relief of Ensley Gammel, giving up four hits and striking out one. Brombacher came on to get the final four outs and the win. Gammel gave up two runs in the second before Schuppert came on.
Florida cut the LIU lead to 2-1 in the third when Corrie Brooks hit her first home run of the season over the center field fence.
The Gators tied the game at 2-2 in the sixth when Schutte launched the first home run of her Florida career.
In the seventh, Paculba delivered a run-scoring double to give the Gators their first lead of the game and Enea hammered a grand slam over the left field fence to ensure the win. It was the sixth grand slam of Enea’s career.
Enea led the Gators in the tournament going 6-13 with 10 RBIs and three home runs. Bruder went 5-12 with a double and a home run while Brooks also went 5-12 with a double and a home run. Schutte had a team-high six runs scored. Thirteen of the Gators’ 23 runs in the tournament were scored off home runs, as they notched seven in the four games.
Florida opens at home on Wednesday, Feb. 17 at 5 p.m. against Jacksonville at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. The team will sign autographs after the game.