Gators Sweep Carolina, Settle For Second

Early this week, we told you the Gator softball team would need Alabama to lose a game to Mississippi State this weekend in order to defend their SEC Title despite having the same number of conference losses (4) as Alabama and beating the Crimson Tide two games to one in Tuscaloosa.

Well, that didn't happen, so Florida's sweep of South Carolina served simply to raise the Gators record to 42-7, 20-4 in the SEC heading into postseason play.

The game was also senior day as Florida saluted Francesca Enea and Corrie Brooks in their final regular season home game. Enea's day became a little extra special when former Gator softball broadcaster Christian Bruey got down on one knee and aske her to marry him. She said yes.

When you have a weekend series featuring one of the nation's best teams against one of the worst, you can't expect much in the way of competition and that's exactly how it played out. Florida outscored Carolina 35-1 over the three games series, including Sunday's 9-0 win. Carolina ended the season 11-40, 1-27 in the SEC.

The Gators grabbed control of this one right away when Megan Bush singled home a run in the bottom of the first and Brittany Schutte stole home to make it two nothing. Aja Paculba hit a sacrifice fly to make it 3-0 in the second before Enea lined a laser over the fence in left centerfield in the third inning to put the Gators up 4-0. It was her 61st career homer, making her the All-time leader in SEC history. It also was her 20th this season, adding to her UF single season record.

Bush added an RBI double in that inning and Michelle Moultrie lined a two-run double in the fourth inning and Florida was on the verge of an eight run lead that could shorten the game to five innings. However Moultrie was left stranded forcing one more inning.

The Gamecocks failed to score in the top of the fifth, which was typical of their weekend since they scored just one run in 17 at bats. Kelsey Bruder led off the bottom of the inning with a double into the left field corner, but she was still on second two outs later. With the possibility of another inning looming, freshman Kelsey Horton ended the game with a towering homerun off the top of the brick pillar supporting the scoreboard and the game was over. For Horton it was her fifth homer in just 31 official at bats.

Stephanie Brombacher picked up her 28th win of the season with her eighth shutout. She struck out four and walked three while allowing just one hit, a single in the fourth inning.

The Gators next head to Fayetteville, Arkansas for the SEC Tournament which begins on Thursday. Florida will be the second seed and will face either Auburn or the host Razorbacks in the opening day of the single elimination event.

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