The No. 3
University of Florida softball team (43-2, 15-1 SEC) finished the series sweep
of No. 23 Mississippi State (32-14, 6-10 SEC) on Sunday in Starkville. The Gators used timely two-out
hitting to secure the win.
different Gators had multiple hits in the game. Junior Ali Gardiner (Waccabuc,
N.Y.), senior Mary Ratliff (Mt.
Sterling, Ky.) and freshman Megan Bush (Anaheim Hills, Calif.)
each went 2-for-3 and each scored a run. Bush led the way with three RBI,
Gardiner hit in two and Ratliff one.
Florida took an early 1-0 lead in the top
of the first. With two outs, one swing from Gardiner sent the ball over the
fence in center field for her fifth home run of the year.
Gators added another run in the top of the second. Ratliff led off with an infield
base hit. With two outs, Bush scored Ratliff from first with a double in the
left field gap, putting Florida
out in the third, freshman Aja Paculba (Wildomar, Calif.)
hit the first triple of her Gator career. She came home on a base hit by
Gardiner for the 3-0 Gator lead.
The Orange and Blue extended
their lead to 5-0 in their half of the fourth. With one out, junior Kristina Hilberth
reached and advanced to second on an error by the Bulldog second baseman. She
came home as Bush hit her sixth home run of the year for the five-run Gator
hurler Stacey Nelson (Los Alamitos,
Calif.) threw the complete game
to improve her record to 28-2 on the year. She struck out four, while
scattering four hits. Mississippi
State starter Kelsey
Nurnberg pitched the first four innings to receive the loss to move to 15-7 on
the year. Misty Flesher pitched the final three innings in relief.
Florida will not play a midweek game this week, but will return
to action on Saturday to begin a three-game series with Southeastern Conference
rival Georgia in Athens.
Saturday’s doubleheader begins at 1 p.m. ET.