March 1, 2008
FULLERTON, CA - A pair of throwing errors led to two unearned runs and Florida starter Stacey Nelson scattered just two hits in the complete-game effort as the No. 5 Gators handed host Cal State Fullerton a 2-0 defeat on day two of the 2008 Worth Invitational on Saturday afternoon at Anderson Family Field.
The loss snapped the Titans' four-game winning streak as they fell to 9-7-1 overall and 2-1 in tournament play. Florida improved to 22-1 overall and remained unbeaten at the Worth Invitational at 3-0.
The Gators jumped ahead early, plating a run in the first with two outs on the board when Aja Paculba touched home plate on a delayed double steal as the throw down to second to catch Tiffany DeFelice sailed into centerfield for the 1-0 lead.
Nelson (13-1) and Fullerton starter Christine Hiner (5-3) matched one another zero-for-zero until the seventh when the Gators struck for an insurance run on another throwing error. Kristine Priebe tallied a pinch hit single with one out and pinch runner Ami Austin moved to second when pinch hitter Kelsey Bruder was hit by a pitch.
That brought up lead-off hitter Kim Waleszonia, whose slow roller to short forced a quick throw, but the ball sailed into the first base dugout, allowing Austin to cross home plate and make it 2-0.
Hiner and the Titans escaped further damage, stranding a pair and throwing out a runner at the plate on a fielder's choice to keep it 2-0.
However, Fullerton could not manage a rally in its half of the seventh as Nelson surrendered only a two-out walk before getting a ground ball back to the circle to end the game.
The Titans had a pair of chances to push across the tying run early as senior Kiki Munoz, who finished with both of the team's hits on the day, doubled to lead off the second and moved to third on a wild pitch with one out. However, the Gators wiggled out of the jam, getting a strikeout and a ground ball sandwiched around a walk to end the threat.
Fullerton also had a rally snuffed out in the fourth as Katie Gollhardt led off being hit by a pitch and moved to second on Munoz's single through the right side. After a strikeout, Nelson induced Sheila Holguin to ground into the inning-ending double play.
Hiner, starting against her fifth top-25 opponent this season, pitched well in the loss, allowing both unearned runs on six hits, walking one and striking out five in the complete-game effort. She retired 11 consecutive Gators at one point and stranded the bases loaded in the third to keep it a one-run game.
Nelson struck out eight and walked two in the complete-game shutout.
Cal State Fullerton closes play at the 2008 Worth Invitational with a pair of games on Sunday afternoon, taking on Oregon State and Notre Dame in back-to-back contests beginning at 1 p.m.