Saturday February 18, 2012Top-Ranked Florida Softball Earns Program's 700th Victory with 11-1 Series Clincher Over Michigan State
In front of 1,278 Orange and Blue-clad fans at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium, the No. 1/3 Gator Softball team shut down the Michigan State Spartans for the second day in a row in another five-inning victory Saturday afternoon to clinch the series. The Gators (8-0) defeated the Spartans, 11-1, behind the arm of freshman Alyssa Bache (Clearwater, Fla.), who earned her first career victory in a Gator uniform as the squad earned the Florida’s 700th all-time victory.
Bache was perfect through four innings Saturday before allowing a base runner on after a hit-by-pitch, followed by two hits and one run in the fifth and final inning. The freshman righty improved to 1-0, fanning four Spartans and walking none through the five-inning run-rule victory – UF’s sixth of the season.
The Gators jumped out of the gates quick in Saturday’s contest, putting up four runs in the first, two in the second and five in the fourth frame to cruise to the series-clinching victory over the Spartans, who fell to 1-6 on the 2012 season.
Florida faced three different MSU hurlers, as starter Rebecca Rogers (0-1) chalked up the loss after allowing UF’s four runs and hits in the first inning. Carly Nielson tossed 2.0, while Shelby Wise threw the bottom of the fourth against the Orange and Blue.
For the second-consecutive day, freshman Lauren Haeger (Peoria, Ariz.) and junior Brittany Schutte (Fountain Valley, Calif.) teamed up for back-to-back bombs in the bottom of the fourth to aid the Gators to victory as Haeger once again went yard with a two-run shot, while Schutte knocked her second solo shot of the year.
Production from the top of UF’s lineup helped lead the Gators to victory as UF’s top four batters combined for 10 of Florida’s 13 hits on the afternoon. Schutte was perfect at the plate with a 3-for-3 performance, with two runs and two RBI, while Haeger was 2-for-3 with three RBI and two runs. Leadoff freshman Sami Fagan (Dunnellon, Fla.) went 3-for-4, while senior Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) was 2-for-4 at the plate with one run and a RBI.
Sophomore shortstop Cheyenne Coyle (West Hills, Calif.), junior designated player Ensley Gammel (Bakersfield, Calif.) and freshman Jessica Damico (Gray Summit, Mo.) each tallied one hit apiece.
A Haeger one-out RBI single in the first got the Gators on the board, followed by a junior Kelsey Horton (Valrico, Fla.) sac fly for UF’s second run. A two-out, two-RBI Gammel base hit plated Schutte and Coyle, who reached on a base hit and base on balls, respectively, as UF led 4-0 after the first frame.
In the second inning, the Gators’ two RBIs to extend the Orange and Blue lead, 6-0, were thanks to Moultrie and Schutte base hits as Damico crossed home on Moultrie’s hit after leading off the inning with a hit of her own, while Schutte drove in S. Fagan, who laid down a bunt single to reach base.
The Gators capitalized on of a combination of Michigan State errors and two bases loaded situations in the bottom of the fourth to put up five runs, as Haeger wasted no time getting Moultrie – who laid down a bunt single and advanced to second on a MSU error – across home with her team-leading third homer of the season. Next up, Schutte went yard for the 9-0 lead, giving Florida momentum to load the bags and scratch two more runs across home for its final 11 runs.
Michigan State got a little something going at the top of the fifth to spoil a no-hitter for Bache, as pinch hitters Sarah Bowling and Stephanie Sanders both entered to provide a spark for the Spartans after Bache allowed pinch hitter Melanie Bensema on after a hit-by-pitch. It was Sanders who sent a base hit to right field to bring home Bensema’s pinch runner Kelsey Cleary for MSU’s sole run, but the effort was too little, too late for the Spartans as Florida still held a 10-run lead after Bache fanned Ellie Stoffer and forced a McKinzie Freimuth foul out to end the inning.
The third and final game of the series kicks off at 1 p.m. Sunday from Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. Follow the Gators on Twitter @GatorZoneSBall or tune in locally on the radio at 104.9 FM – 105 The Game – with the call by Mike Gillespie and former Gator All-American Megan Bush.
Gator fans are reminded that Sunday is Gainesville’s annual Five Points of Life Marathon, which will affect parking for the Gator faithful heading to KSP to see the series finale with Michigan State. Fans are asked to park in the Harn Museum of Art parking lot by turning east onto Hull Rd from 34th Street, then turning into the Harn Museum of Art parking lot on the right. There will be areas in the flat lot cornered off for finishing race participants and medical personnel, but an area directly to the right after entering the lot will be available for Gator softball fans.
Additional parking will be available in the garage located in the Performing Arts Center lot, but it is necessary to drive around the back of the garage in order to avoid the Five Points of Life finish line and the main medical tent. A parking map can be seen here.