Florida Tops Golden Bears, 4-2

May 23, 2008

Gainesville, Fla. - The No. 1-ranked Florida Gators are one win away from appearing in the Women's College World Series after defeating the California Golden Bears, 4-2 in the NCAA Softball Super Regional at Pressly Softball Stadium on Friday afternoon.

Cal (43-26) will take on Florida (66-3) tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. PT on ESPN in the elimination game. Cal, who was the designated visiting team on Friday, will be the designated home team for tomorrow's game. The game can also be accessed via ESPN360.com.

Freshman Valerie Arioto was sensational, knocking three hits on four plate appearances with two RBI. She now has 70 hits on the season.

Marissa Drewrey, who broke the school single season record for games started (47), suffered the loss to fall to 29-18 on the season. She allowed four runs (only one earned) with four walks and four strikeouts.

The Gators unlocked a scoreless tie in the bottom of the third inning when Enea Francesca knocked in Aja Paculba with two outs giving Florida a 1-0 advantage.

Drewrey's counterpart, Stacey Nelson, helped Florida get out of a big jam in the top of the fourth when she induced a groundout and recorded a strikeout after Cal had runners in scoring position on second and third with one out.

Florida added to its lead with a three-run fourth inning to go in front, 4-0. The Gators took advantage of a Cal fielding miscue with one out before eventually loading the bases with two outs. Drewrey then walked in a run, before Ali Gardiner singled through the left side to plate Corrie Brooks. UF scored its final run of the stanza after Enea was hit by a pitch, allowing Kim Waleszonia to cross home plate.

Cal threatened again in the top of the fifth and pushed a run across the board when pinch runner Savannah Hensley scored on Valerie Arioto's single through the left side with one out. Once again the Bears had runners (Julie Meyer and Arioto) in scoring position, but Nelson was clutch again, getting Cal to line out and strikeout to end the threat.

With the bases loaded and two outs in the sixth inning, Arioto came through again when she planted a single up the middle to plate Sanoe Kekahuna, trimming the Florida lead to 4-2. Nelson recorded another strikeout with the bases still loaded to neutralize the rally. Cal left a combined six runners on base in the fifth and sixth innings.

Cal tagged Nelson for nine hits - the most hits given up by the junior hurler all season. Cal also tied a school record for the most RBI in a season (278), while scoring the second most runs in program history with 317.

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