Sunday February 12, 2012Florida Softball Powers Its Way to Run-Rule Shutout Victories over Maine and Illinois State Saturday
Photo by Andy Meng, Stageshot Photography
Photo by Andy Meng, Stageshot Photography
The No. 2/4 Gators powered their way to two dominating run-rule shutout victories Saturday evening at the USF Softball Stadium, downing Maine, 8-0, and Illinois State, 11-0, to improve to 3-0 in 2012. Florida used five doubles, two triples and four homers to add their second and third shutout victories – all of which were five innings – after opening the season with an 8-0 win over Long Island earlier in the day.
Through its first three games this season, Florida has outscored its opponents, 27-0, smashed four long balls, including a Cheyenne Coyle (West Hills, Calif.) grand slam, racked up 25 RBI and tallied a .455 batting average, led by freshman Sami Fagan’s (Dunnellon, Fla.) .889 clip after going 8-for-9 at the plate through Saturday’s three games.
Sophomore righty Hannah Rogers (Lake Wales, Fla.) chalked up her second victory of the season with a three-hit, nine-strikeout effort after going the full 5.0 against Illinois State in the second of UF’s two clashes Saturday evening.
It was a phenomenal day for freshman Lauren Haeger (Peoria, Ariz), who earned her first start, and victory, in the circle for the Orange and Blue against Maine in the earlier game, fanning 11 of the 19 batters she faced, while giving up just three hits and walking one. In game two, Haeger showed her versatility at the plate, smashing an absolute three-run bomb over the center-field fence against the Redbirds for her first career homer as a Gator, giving Florida the minimum eight runs for a run rule in the bottom of the second. The Gators went on to make it an 11-run differential.
Before defeating Illinois State in the nightcap, Florida strung together an incredible one-out feat against Maine in the third inning following two scoreless frames for both squads, putting up a five spot after two-consecutive triples from senior Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) and Sami Fagan, followed by two-consecutive doubles from Haeger and junior Brittany Schutte (Fountain Valley, Calif.) before Coyle finished off the rally with UF’s first home run of the season, a two-run shot to center field. The Gators added three more runs in the fifth, thanks to another Schutte double and a junior Kelsey Horton (Valrico, Fla.) homer that brought both home to seal the win.
Coyle struck with her inaugural grand slam in a Gator uniform to get the Gators on the board quick in the bottom of the first against Illinois State after Moultrie and Sami Fagan base hits, followed by an eventual Schutte walk that loaded the bags. A Kasey Fagan (Dunnellon, Fla.) RBI double added a fifth run in the first for Florida, while three runs each in the second inning – thanks to Haeger’s three-run homer – and fourth inning solidified UF’s third victory of 2012.
Between the Gators’ two games Saturday, Sami Fagan was a perfect 6-for-6 at the plate with five runs, a triple and one RBI, while Schutte batted .750 thanks to a 3-for-4 effort with two doubles and three RBI. Coyle and Moultrie both checked in with a .600 batting clip, each going 3-for-5, Coyle with two runs from her two homers and seven RBI, while Moultrie registered four runs and a triple on the evening.
UF continued to have stellar play from its freshmen, with four first-years in the infield at the same time in the second inning against the Redbirds with Haeger at first, Damico at second, Fagan at third and Medina at shortstop. The quartet had an impressive third inning, assisting in a three up, three down effort with an athletic snag from Medina at shortstop for the second out and a leaping effort from Damico at second for the final out.
Florida will take to the field versus tournament-host USF Sunday at 1:30 p.m. before playing its contest with FGCU, rescheduled for Sunday after rain delays Friday, at approximately 3:45 p.m. to finish off the opening weekend slate. Follow all of the Gators’ games this season, including tomorrow’s two contests, on Twitter @GatorZoneSBall or tune in locally on the radio at 104.9 FM, with the call by Mike Gillespie and former Gator All-American Megan Bush.