FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The legendary Bronx Bombers have nothing on Walton’s Wallbangers.
Coach Tim Walton’s No. 4 Florida softball team hit four home runs in the sixth inning to break open a 1-1 game and catapult the Gators to a 6-1 victory Sunday afternoon for a weekend sweep of Arkansas at Bogle Park.
Junior Aja Paculba and sophomore Michelle Moultrie had back-to-back solo home runs to start the sixth, freshman Brittany Schutte hit a solo homer two outs later and then senior Corrie Brooks hit a two-run home run to double Florida’s home-run output for the weekend and bring the Florida total for the season to 68 homers in 34 games.
Freshman Ensley Gammel earned her ninth victory without a loss for Florida (30-4, 12-2 SEC East) by pitching the final 2.1 innings in relief of sophomore Stephanie Brombacher, who went the first 4.1 innings, allowing a run on three hits and three walks with four strikeouts. Gammel allowed one hit and no runs and struck out three.
Paculba, who scored two runs, became the school’s all-time run scorer with 167. Her first run came in the first inning after she reached on an error. Moultrie (3-for-4) beat out a bunt single. Two outs later, Schutte singled to right to drive in Paculba with the run that tied her with Kim Waleszonia with 166 career runs.
Paculba’s home run to lead off the sixth not only set the new record but it also extended her hitting streak to a career-long 14 games, the second longest in Florida history. It was her seventh homer of the season and was followed by Moultrie’s fourth home run of the year. Schutte’s blast was her 11th, and Brooks’ two-run homer was her sixth. All of the home runs came off Arkansas starter Hope McLemore (12-7).
Florida concludes its five-game road trip Wednesday with a doubleheader against No. 19 Florida State in Tallahassee. The first game is set for 5 p.m. and will be televised by Sun Sports.