Feb. 15, 2009
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The No. 2 Florida softball team (8-1) hit three home runs en route to an 11-1 six-inning win over Georgia Tech (6-2) in the championship game of the Lipton Invitational Sunday afternoon. Senior Tiffany Johnson had a RBI for the Yellow Jackets while senior Whitney Haller extended her hitting streak to 10 games. Junior Jen Yee also extended her hitting streak to seven games.
The Gators jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning off Tech freshman Jessica Coan making her first career start. Ali Gardner had a RBI double in the inning, but Coan was able to get out of a jam with runners on first and third and one out.
Yee led off the top of the second inning with a sharp single up the middle off Florida All-American pitcher Stacey Nelson, but was quickly erased when freshman Kelsi Weseman hit a line drive at Florida shortstop Megan Bush which turned into a double play.
The Gators blew the game open with a five-run second inning which eventually knocked Coan out of the game. Corrie Brooks led off the inning with a single, but was still second base with two outs. Coan nearly got out of the inning, but a two-run home run by Aja Paculba made it a 3-0 game. The Gators continued to add onto the lead as Gardiner added another RBI double and then Francesca Enea capped the scoring with a two-run home run.
Florida added a single run in the third off senior relief pitcher Tiffany Johnson, but the Yellow Jackets had a great chance to get back in the game in the top of the fourth.
Sophomore Christy Jones led off with an infield single and moved up a base when Haller stroked a single into right field. After Yee walked, Weseman came up with the bases loaded and nobody out. She hit a shot to the right side which was picked nicely by Gardiner at first. Gardiner spun around and threw home to nab Jones by a step. The throw was low, but UF catcher Kristina Hilberth made a great play to pick the ball off the dirt and complete the force play. The Jackets did get a run on a RBI ground out by Johnson, but Nelson was able to escape. It was just the second run of the season allowed by the Gators and first earned run.
The score remained 7-1 until Florida ended it in walk-off fashion in the bottom of the sixth. With the bases loaded and one out, Brooks sent everyone home just before it began raining with a grand slam to left-center field.
Nelson improved to 4-1 with the win as she allowed one earned run on four hits and one walk in four innings of work. She struck out two. Stephanie Brombacher pitched two innings of scoreless and hitless relief, striking out four batters.
Coan (0-1) took the loss as she surrendered six earned runs on six hits in two innings. She walked one and struck out two. Johnson allowed five earned runs on six hits and three walks in 3.1 innings. She fanned two as well.
The Yellow Jackets will return to action next weekend, Feb. 20-22, at the prestigious Cathedral City Classic, just outside of Palm Springs, Calif. Georgia Tech will face UNLV (9:00 p.m. ET) and Loyola Marymount (11:30 p.m. ET) on Friday, Oregon (4:00 p.m. ET) and Cal Poly (6:30 p.m. ET) on Saturday and then Oregon State at Noon ET on Sunday. Live audio and stats of each game will be available free of charge at www.ramblinwreck.com.