The No. 5 Gators closed out their season-opening weekend with a 12-0 victory over USF in the final game of the 2011 USF-hosted Wilson DeMarini Tournament at the Eddie C. Moore Complex in Clearwater. The Gators (5-0) opened the 2011 weekend with a bang, undefeated, racking up 53 runs,14 home runs, a .394 batting clip, .478 on-base percentage and a .803 slugging percentage as a team.
UF wasted no time getting on the board, putting up four runs at the top of the first against the Bulls (4-1), started by a solo homer to left center by senior Aja Paculba (Wildomar, Fla.). Senior Kelsey Bruder (Corona, Calif.) followed with a single to extend her career-long hit streak to 14 games, just two shy of the school record 16. A Bruder stolen base and two consecutive walks for senior Megan Bush (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) and sophomore Brittany Schutte (Fountain Valley, Calif.) set up bases loaded for freshman Cheyenne Coyle (West Hills, Calif.), who brought home both Bruder and Schutte to take Florida ahead, 3-0. A sacrifice fly by senior Tiffany DeFelice (Coral Springs, Fla.) scored Bush to end the UF barrage in the first inning in favor of the Orange and Blue, 4-0.
Senior ace Stephanie Brombacher (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) stepped into the circle for the Gators on defense after tossing her second career perfect game Friday. Brombacher went the full five innings and improved to 3-0 on the season, tallying nine strikeouts and just four hits to shut out the Bulls.
Both Bruder and Paculba went 3-for-4 to lead the Gators Saturday, Bruder with five RBI and Paculba with one, as each homered.
Florida added three runs in both the second and fourth innings, led by junior Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) at the top of the Florida lineup in the second. A single by Moultrie and a stolen base, her third of the weekend, gave the Gators runners in scoring position as they would capitalize on a South Florida fielding error on Bruder’s at-bat to bring Moultrie home. A hit-by-pitch for Bush and an intentional walk for Schutte ensued, bringing up Coyle next. An error on USF’s second base player allowed both Bruder and Schutte to score for a 7-0 UF advantage.
In the fourth, a Bruder triple far out in center brought home Paculba, who reached on a single to right field, and allowed Bruder to also score on the throw. Schutte followed with a double to center and Bush drew her second walk of the game as DeFelice stepped up to the plate for a hit to right center, bringing Schutte home for Florida’s 10th run of the game.
The Gators put the icing on the cake at the top of the fifth when seniors Paculba and Bruder teamed up for two scores on a two-run homer by Bruder following Paculba’s double to left center. Brombacher struck out three Bulls swinging for the three outs in the bottom half of the fifth to close out the game for the Gators.
Lindsey Richardson (1-1) tallied the loss for South Florida, allowing four hits, seven runs and just two strikeouts in two innings of work.
Florida will take on its first mid-week tilt of the 2011 season Wednesday when it heads to Jacksonville for a match-up with the Jacksonville University Dolphins. Game time is slated for 6 p.m. and will be broadcast live on 105 The Game locally. Florida holds the all-time advantage in the history of the series, 8-0, including a 2-0 lead in Jacksonville. Last time out, UF defeated JU 6-1 in Gainesville Feb. 17. DeFelice went 3-for-3 in the game with three homers and three RBI.– UF Sports Info