"I am overwhelmed with excitement for our program," Florida Head Coach Tim Walton said. "I am especially proud of each one of these young ladies."
Florida had two players, juniors Stacey Nelson
and Ali Gardiner, named to the first team, two,
freshman Aja Paculba and sophomore Francesca Enea, on the second team and junior Kim Waleszonia
was named to the third team. This is the second NFCA
All-America honor for both Nelson and Waleszonia as Nelson was named to
the second team last season and Waleszonia to the third. Gardiner and
Nelson are the first two first team All-Americans in school history.
Prior to this season, Florida had only three All-Americans in school
history, including Nelson, Waleszonia and former pitcher and recent
Florida Athletics Hall of Fame inductee Chelsey Sakizzie.
Nelson, the Southeastern Conference Pitcher of the Year, was also named
a CoSIDA First-Team Academic All-American earlier Wednesday. She is the
first player in school history to earn both All-America and Academic
All-America honors in the same season. Nelson enters Women's College
World Series play with a 45-3 record and a 0.73 ERA with five saves.
Each of her losses this season have been 1-0 losses and only one run in
those losses was earned. This season she has set Florida single season
records for wins (45), starts (44), complete games (40) and strikeouts
(337). She is the career record holder for wins (93), saves (15),
complete games (96), shutouts (36), innings pitched (820.2) and
strikeouts (733). Nelson is also sharp defensively. She is just one
assists from recording 100 assists on the season and is the only pitcher
to be in Florida's top 10 career assists list.
"I am honored to be named an All-American, but even more excited four of
my teammates earned it as well," Nelson said.
Gardiner is Florida's leading hitter with a .405 batting average a .625
slugging percentage and a .506 on base percentage. The Florida first
baseman has reached base in all but five games this season and was only
held hitless in 14 games. She leads the team with 17 doubles and 40
walks. She went on a season-long 12-game hit streak from April 20 to May
10. Her .405 average and her .506 on base percentage this season are the
best single season clips in school history. In the field, she leads the
team with 470 putouts on the season and has a .988 fielding percentage
with only six error on the season. She has been a part of 18 of
Florida's 21 double plays this year.
"I am still in shock to have received this honor," Gardiner said. "I am
glad my personal success has helped my team's success."
Paculba, a second baseman, is the first freshman in school history to
earn All America honors. She is Florida's third-leading hitter with a
.340 batting average. She shares the team lead and the school record in
runs scored with Waleszonia with 61 runs on the season. She has reached
base in all but 10 games this season. At second she has a .969 fielding
percentage with 121 put outs and 128 assists, while helping to turn 14
double plays. Paculba ranks in the top 10 of almost every Florida single
season hitting record lists.
"I don't even know what to say," Paculba said. "I am excited to take
this honor and use it to improve my play and help my team continue
Enea is Florida's leading home run hitter this season with 15. After
suffering an ACL tear last season, Enea has emerged as one of Florida's
top power hitters in 2008. She leads the team with 60 RBI which ties the
school record. She has also set the school single season record for
sacrifice flies with six on the year. She leads the team with 18
game-winning RBI. She is hitting .338 on the season with a .613 slugging
percentage and a .405 on base percentage.
"It is a great honor," Enea said. "I wouldn't have been able to do it
without the help and support of my teammates."
Waleszonia, Florida's centerfielder, earned third team All-America
honors as a second baseman last season. She has played three different
positions in her three seasons at Florida. She is Florida's career
record holder for batting average, runs and triples. She is only one
stolen base from setting a new career record in that category. She leads
the team in hits with 85 in 2008 and is just four from breaking the
school record which she set last season. Thirty-four of her 85 hits on
the season have been bunt singles. She shares the team lead in run
scored this season with 61. She is second on the team with a .368
batting average and heads into the WCWS on a six-game hit streak.
"This is a real honor and I am very excited for all five of us,"
Waleszonia said. "I love being able to share this with my teammates."
Florida (67-3) opens the Women's College World Series at the ASA Hall of
Fame Stadium against Louisiana-Lafayette in Oklahoma City, Okla. on
Thursday at 1 p.m. The game will be televised live on ESPN and air live
on WRUF AM 850 in Gainesville.
Five Gators Selected All Americans
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