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Bulls vs. Owls on Sunday (twice if necessary)

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Owls Advance to Regional Final with Win over Florida

FAU takes on USF at noon in fight for Super Regional berth  

May 20, 2006

GAINESVILLE, FL - Florida Atlantic University advanced to the finals of the Gainesville Regional by defeating host Florida 1-0 at Florida Softball Stadium in the 2006 NCAA Softball Championship on Saturday.

Freshman Kathryn Stauffer (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) and junior Jen Musillo (Tequesta, Fla.) combined to throw a two-hitter for the Owls. Stauffer (11-14) went 4 1/3 in getting her first postseason victory, while Musillo struck out five over 2 2/3 for the save, her second of the season.

"Kat (Stauffer) had an outstanding game," stated head coach Joan Joyce. "She threw well above the level of a freshman making her first postseason start. Her effort and that of Jen out of the bullpen propelled us to the win."

Junior Marlene Lopez (Orangeburg, N.Y.) scored the game's only run in the fourth inning. For Lopez, it was the second time that she has scored the game-winning run in a postseason game, having also done so against Mississippi State in May 2004.

The Owls broke through for their run in the bottom of the fourth inning. Mandie Fishback (Banks, Ore.) opened the inning with a walk and Lopez, as pinch runner, moved up to second on a sacrifice bunt by freshman Kala Guy (Hollywood, Fla.).

One out later, freshman Amy Bukovich (Boca Raton, Fla.) punched a single to rightfield to drive in Lopez. Six feet from the plate, Lopez collided with catcher Kristen Butler, rolled twice but maintained awareness of her location on the field, touching home for the 1-0 lead.    

Florida Atlantic could not take advantage of two other threats in the game, with runners being thrown out at home in the second and the fifth.

UF got its first baserunner of the game in the fifth. A walk and single sandwiched around a failed sacrifice put runners on first and second with one out against Stauffer, but Musillo made her appearance from the bullpen to end the threat with a fly to center and a strikeout looking.

Musillo stopped a bases-loaded threat in the top of the sixth and then struck out the side in the seventh to seal the win.

"The team is very excited to be moving into the final," noted Joyce. "With how our pitchers are performing and considering that South Florida has not seen Kat and Meghan (Doonan) thrown at them yet, we like our chances on Sunday."

Florida Atlantic (35-24) will face USF for the regional title on Sunday, starting at noon. The Owls must defeat the Bulls (49-23) twice to move on to the NCAA Super Regional.


- Florida Atlantic beat host Florida twice this weekend, getting a 2-0 win over the Gators in Friday's opener.

- Florida Atlantic is now 4-0 against the Gators in the postseason, including 3-0 in Gainesville.

- This is second time that FAU has eliminated Florida from the postseason, doing so both times in Gainesville. A 2-1 win for Florida Atlantic in May 2003 also knocked the Gators out of the postseason.

- The winner of the Gainesville Regional will move on to face the winner of the Los Angeles Regional.

Gainesville Regional Scoreboard

Friday, May 19

Game 1: South Florida 2, North Carolina 1

Game 2: Florida Atlantic 2, Florida 0

Saturday, May 20

Game 3, 12:00 noon - South Florida 1, Florida Atlantic 0

Game 4, 2:30 p.m. - Florida 1, North Carolina 0 (8 innings)

Game 5, 5:00 p.m. - Florida Atlantic 1, Florida 0

Sunday, May 21

Game 6, 12:00 noon - South Florida (49-23) vs. Florida Atlantic (35-24)

Game 7, 2:30 p.m. - South Florida vs. Florida Atlantic (if necessary)

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