Junior pitcher Stacey Nelson (Los Alamitos, Calif.) led the No. 7 Florida Softball team (14-0) to its 14th consecutive win, pitching her fifth shutout of the season as the Gators defeated Hofstra (3-2), 5-0 at Pressly Softball Stadium on Wednesday evening.
Nelson, now 7-0 on the season, has pitched a school record 39.2 consecutive shut out innings. She beats her own record of 29 shut out innings set last season from May 5 to May 12. Nelson also tied her career-high with 12 strikeouts on the night, her fourth double-digit strikeout performance of the season.
Sophomore Francesca Enea (Woodland Hills, Calif.) led off a four-run Gator fourth with a solo home run to left center. It was Enea’s third homer of the year. Junior Ali Gardiner (Waccabuc, N.Y.) drew her second walk of the game. Freshman Ami Austin (Ormond Beach, Calif.) came in to pinch run for her. Senior Mary Ratliff (Mt. Sterling, Ky.) was safe at first on an infield single. Freshman Kelsey Bruder (Corona, Calif.) grounded out for the second out of the inning, but both runners were able to advance and Austin scored on a throwing error by the Pride catcher. Sophomore Corrie Brooks (Christmas, Fla.) reached first and Ratliff scored on an error by the Hofstra short stop. A double from junior Kim Waleszonia (Fontana, Calif.) scored Brooks from first for the
Florida scored its final run of the game in the fifth frame as freshman Aja Paculba (Wildomar, Calif.) stole home on a well-executed first and third situation.
The Florida defense was sharp in the game as well. The top of the third looked particularly sharp as junior catcher Kristina Hilberth (Dunedin, Fla.) picked off a Hofstra runner at third, then combined with freshman short stop Megan Bush (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) to catch a Pride runner attempting to steal home on a first and third double steal attempt.
Florida hosts Notre Dame, North Florida and Gardner-Webb in the Aquafina Invitational this weekend. Gardner-Webb and Notre Dame open the tournament at 11 a.m. on Friday. Florida plays its first game against Gardner-Webb at 3:#0 p.m. Friday afternoon.