GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The No. 5 University of Florida Gators finished a perfect home-opening weekend with a 10-0 defeat of No. 22 North Carolina Sunday in five innings at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. Senior Kelsey Bruder (Corona, Calif.) went 2-for-2 with a two-run homer, two additional runs, a steal and a walk. Classmate Aja Paculba (Wildomar, Calif.) added two runs of her own, a double, a walk, two RBI and a stolen base, while going 1-for-2, as the Orange and Blue improved to 9-0 this season.
Senior righty Stephanie Brombacher (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) earned her sixth win of the season for the Gators and maintained her perfect 0.00 ERA by allowing just four hits, one walk and striking out one. Brombacher heads into next week’s Cathedral City Classic tournament in California with 35 strikeouts in 31.0 innings of work and has yet to give up a run so far in 2011.
Lori Spingola fell to 4-3 on the season as she shouldered the loss for the Tar Heels (4-4, 0-0 ACC) for the second time this weekend by allowing eight hits and six runs, all earned, in three innings Sunday.
The Gators struck first in the final game of the series, knocking in two runs in the first. Lead-off hitter junior Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) once again got the momentum going by doubling to the center-field wall. Paculba flied out to advance Moultrie, and then a single by Bruder put runners at the corners. Bruder stole second and sophomore Brittany Schutte (Fountain Valley, Calif.) drew a walk to load the bases. Senior Megan Bush (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) then smacked a double off the center-field wall, scoring Moultrie and Bruder.
A home run for Bruder, her fourth of the season, helped fuel the Gators to increase their lead to 6-0 in the bottom half of the second. Freshman Kasey Fagan (Dunnellon, Fla.) and Moultrie both doubled to left center, putting both runners in scoring position. Paculba then connected for a double of her own, sending her teammates home, while Bruder followed with a bomb over the right-field fence to tally two more runs for the Orange and Blue.
The Gators added four more runs in the fourth to seal their third shutout of the weekend, the seventh this season. Moultrie and Paculba drew walks and both advanced on a double steal. Bruder was also walked, which led to a pitching staff change for North Carolina to put Sara Buchholz in the circle. With bases loaded, Schutte reached first on a fielder’s choice, as Moultrie was eliminated at home, but Bush followed with a single to right to score Paculba, followed by a double down the left-field line by Coyle to bring home both Bruder and Schutte. Bush scored the tenth and final run of the game on a junior Tiffany DeFelice (Coral Springs, Fla.) sacrifice fly.