Gators Surge into Regional Final

The Gator softball team earned phase one of its revenge against Texas A&M with a 7-1 win Saturday afternoon in the NCAA Regional here in Gainesville. The Aggies knocked the Gators out of the College World Series last year and beat the Gators in the Super Regional in 2007 but were overmatched in this one.

Stacey Nelson struck out 14 batters and scattered nine hits to pick up her 36th win of the season. The senior righty struggled with a strike zone that denied both pitchers the lower portion of the zone in exchange for several inches on either side of the plate.

Nelson was ably supported by a Florida lineup that ripped eleven hits including four doubles. The Gators got contributions throughout the lineup with seven different players getting hits.

Florida grabbed the lead in the first inning when Kristina Hilberth doubled down the left field line and Kelsey Bruder singled her home. The same pattern played out in the second with Megan Bush providing the double and fellow sophomore Aja Paculba adding the RBI single.

After Texas A&M scored in the fifth the Gators answered with an RBI double from Francesca Enea that just missed being a three run home. Bruder added a sacrifice fly to make it 4-1. They broke the game open the next inning on Ali Gardiner's two-run single. An Aggies error plated the final run of the day.

The Gators can take the rest of the day off and will have two chances on Sunday to try to earn a spot in a Super Regional. In the meantime Lehigh will face FAMU with the winner taking on Texas A&M tonight. The winner of that night game will be the Gators' opponent on Sunday.

Florida is now 57-3 on the year and has won 23 straight games.

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