Saturday April 30, 2011No. 5 Florida Softball Clinches Series over South Carolina with 6-1 Victory Saturday
With the game knotted at one-all, the Gators capitalized on a bases-loaded situation in the sixth inning with a sac fly from senior Megan Bush (Anaheim Hills, Calif.), followed by a three-run round-tripper from sophomore Brittany Schutte (Fountain Valley, Calif.) to pull ahead from the Gamecocks for good as UF clinched the series with a 6-1 victory Saturday at Beckham Field. The Gators drew 11 walks and rallied for nine hits, putting up their six runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings for the victory, as Bush moved into sole possession of UF’s single-season RBI record (72) with two Saturday. Schutte led the Gators on the day, going 2-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored, while also drawing her team-leading 37th base on balls this season.
Florida (42-8, 17-7 SEC) faced three Gamecock (25-26, 6-18 SEC) pitchers in the circle, rallying for most its hits off Julie Sarratt, who gave up five hits, five earned runs and walked four in 2.0 innings of work. Senior righty Stephanie Brombacher (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) started in the circle for the Orange and Blue, tossing the first 4.0 innings, giving up three hits and USC’s one run, but it was freshman Hannah Rogers (Lake Wales, Fla.) who earned the win, her 26h of the season, after 3.0 innings of scoreless relief, fanning two in the process.
The Gamecocks put up the first run of Saturday’s contest, which would be their only run, on a one-out Laura Mendes double to right center in the bottom of the first inning, plating leadoff batter Samie Garcia, who reached on a walk and scooted to second on a sac bunt. Brombacher forced a pop up and fly out to retire the side for UF.
The Orange and Blue left 14 on base in the game, including three in both the second and fourth innings, but the Gators capitalized on their third bases-loaded situation in the fifth after Cheyenne Coyle (West Hills, Calif.) was hit by a Julie Sarratt pitch to bring Schutte across home. Schutte drew a two-out walk to start the rally and senior Aja Paculba (Wildomar, Calif.) tallied Florida’s second hit of the game on a single through the left side. Senior catcher Tiffany DeFelice (Coral Springs, Fla.) followed with a walk, bringing up Coyle. The ball grazed Coyle’s elbow, sending her to first and Schutte home for a 1-1 score following the top of the fifth frame.
The Gators busted the game open in the sixth, started by Bush’s sac fly that was nearly out of the park, but Schutte got the job done on a one-out three-run bomb to take the Gators up, 5-1. Freshman Kasey Fagan (Dunnellon, Fla.) smoked a leadoff double down the left-field line to kick off the sixth inning and junior Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) drew a walk. Bruder connected on a base hit to left field and Bush followed with the sac fly to plate Fagan, allowing Schutte to capitalize next with two on for three Florida runs. The Gators continued the rally with two outs after Paculba fouled out, as DeFelice singled on a blooper to center and Coyle followed with a walk for runners on first and second. A fly out ended Florida’s scoring, but allowed the Gators to take a comfortable, 5-1, lead to the bottom of the frame.
Rogers fanned two and forced a foul out in the bottom of the sixth stanza, bringing up the seventh for both squads and enabling Moultrie to reach on a one-out bunt single to extend her team-long active hit streak to 18 games. Florida again capitalized as Bush smacked a RBI single to left field, driving Moultrie in for the 6-1 lead. Schutte kept her bat hot, dropping a base hit in center field, allowing junior Ellie Langley (Spring Hill, Fla.), pinch running for Bush, to scamper to third, while Schutte was safe at second after the throw. A Paculba strikeout ended the inning, but gave UF an extra run for cushion heading into the final half inning ahead by five runs.
Rogers forced three up, three down for the Gamecocks in the bottom of the seventh to solidify the Gators’ 42nd victory of the season.
Florida and South Carolina will meet in the series finale Sunday, with first pitch set for noon from Beckham field in Columbia. Gator fans can watch live on SportSouth, channel 48 locally, or tune in to Adam Schick on 105 ‘The Game’. Live stats will be available online via Gametracker.