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Saturday March 3, 2012Kelsey Horton's Three Homers Lead Florida Softball to Victories Over Gardner-Webb and Tennessee State

Gainesville, Fla.

Junior Kelsey Horton (Valrico, Fla.) smashed three homers Saturday, including her first career grand slam, to contribute to UF’s six long balls on the day as the Gator softball team defeated Gardner-Webb, 14-0, and Tennessee State, 8-0, on the second day of the 2012 Lipton Invitational to improve to 18-1 on the season.

 

Horton accounted for eight RBI, finishing 4-for-5 at the plate, good for a .800 batting clip after connecting for a three-run shot against Gardner-Webb and a grand slam and solo bomb against Tennessee State in the second of Florida’s two games. The grand slam marked UF’s second of the year after sophomore Cheyenne Coyle (West Hills, Calif.) tallied the first of her career against Illinois State Feb. 11. Horton’s two homers against the Tigers tied a UF individual single game record.

 

For the second-consecutive day, the Gators put up 20-plus runs, scoring 22 on 23 hits, for a total of 47 in the Lipton Invitational so far. Eight Gators connected for hits, including multiple-hit performances from five.

 

Sophomore Kasey Fagan (Dunnellon, Fla.) was perfect on the day for the Gators, going 5-for-5 with four runs, a double and a homer, her first of the season.

 

Freshman Alyssa Bache (Clearwater, Fla.) and sophomore Hannah Rogers (Lake Wales, Fla.) opened the afternoon by teaming up for a combined one-hitter against the GWU Bulldogs. Bache earned her third victory of the season with four strikeouts, allowing just one hit and one walk in the first 4.0 innings of play. Rogers came on for the final frame to retire the side, two by strikeout, to lead UF to its 17th victory of the year.

 

Freshman Lauren Haeger (Peoria, Ariz.) earned the nod in the circle against Tennessee State, improving to 6-1 on the season with a two-hit, complete game effort against the Tigers to give the Gators 18 wins. Haeger fanned four and walked two, while holding TSU scoreless through the five-inning tilt.

 

UF opened the second day of the Lipton Invitational with its second match-up against Gardner-Webb in as many days, piling on an 11-run cushion in the first inning alone, a 35-minute frame. Two three-run homers, one from senior Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) and one from Horton, assisted as UF put up 11 runs on eight hits in the first inning alone.

 

For the second-consecutive day, Moultrie opened up play with a RBI triple to put up the first score for the Orange and Blue, while Haeger knocked in two scores with a double to right center.

 

Horton went yard for a three-run success to add UF’s fourth, fifth and sixth runs in the first inning, spurring a pitching change for the Runnin’ Bulldogs, who traded Jessica Milligan, who shouldered the loss for GWU, for Kellie Beres with no outs.

 

Freshman Katie Medina (Downey, Calif.) got in on the action with a one-out RBI single of her own to make it a 7-0 lead for the Orange and Blue. The second time through the Gators’ lineup, Moultrie connected for UF’s second homer of the contest – her third in the last two days – for three more runs, while Haeger made it back-to-back bombs with a solo shot for an 11-0 advantage and one out on the board. The last time Florida rallied for back-to-back homers, Haeger was a part of the action Feb. 18 in the Saturday contest against Michigan State when her and junior Brittany Schutte (Fountain Valley, Calif.) teamed up for consecutive long balls.

 

Two groundouts ended the first-frame scoring splurge, but UF held the Bulldogs scoreless in the second and continued to pile it on in the bottom of the stanza, as K. Fagan knocked a two-run homer over the fence, her first of the season, as Florida kept the bats alive to string together a five-hit, three-run second inning to extend the lead, 14-0, in favor of the home team.

 

Alyssa Gutierrez came on for Gardner-Webb in the circle for the final 2.2 and was successful in holding the Orange and Blue hitless and scoreless in the final two innings of play. Samantha Meenaghan chalked up the Bulldogs’ sole hit of the contest, while sisters Sami Fagan (Dunnellon, Fla.), K. Fagan and Horton were all perfect at the plate with 2-for-2 performances. Moultrie finished the game against GWU 3-for-4 with five RBI, while Medina was 2-for-3 at the plate.

 

In the second game of UF’s Saturday doubleheader with Tennessee State, it was two homers, a passed ball and a final S. Fagan RBI in the bottom of the fifth that sealed the deal for the Gators, as the team secured its 11th shutout and run-rule of the 2012 season.

 

A Horton grand slam, the first of her career and second for UF this season, gave the Gators four insurance runs to kick off the first-ever meeting between Florida and TSU. Florida never looked back as Horton added her fifth RBI of the tilt with her second homer of the game against the Tigers, her third of the day, to take the Orange and Blue up, 6-0, after three innings.

 

A passed ball in the fourth scored Moultrie for the seventh run of the game, while K. Fagan crossed home for the eighth and final run to enforce the run-rule after five frames at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.

 

Ashley Haynes and Brittany Davis tallied the Tigers’ two hits of the game, while Shea Morris moved to 4-3 in the circle with the loss, working a complete game for TSU. Morris retired six Gators by strikeout and walked four, giving up seven earned runs, eight overall, and nine UF hits.

 

The final day of the 2012 Lipton Invitational kicks off Sunday at 9 a.m. First pitch for the Gators’ final contest of the match-up against Campbell is slated for 1:30 p.m. For a complete tournament schedule, all box scores and UF’s recaps, click here.

 

All Lipton Invite games this weekend will have live, online statistics through GameTracker, while each Florida match-up will be broadcast live locally and online at 104.9-FM, 105 The Game, with the call by Adam Schick and former Gator All-American Megan Bush.

 

For in-game updates, follow the Gators on Twitter @GatorZoneSBall and visit Florida on Facebook under University of Florida Softball, the official UF Softball Facebook page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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