Wednesday March 21, 2012No. 4 Gators Ready for Three-Game Set at Arkansas
After winning its first three Southeastern Conference series against Mississippi State, Tennessee and South Carolina, the No. 4 Gator softball team will hit the road for a three-game set at Arkansas March 23-25. The UF softball squad improved to 26-2 overall and 7-1 in league play after sweeping the Gamecocks last weekend for the eighth-consecutive time with 9-1 (5), 1-0 and 7-3 wins respectively for their 24-26th consecutive wins in the history of the series.
The Orange and Blue head to Fayetteville and Bogle Park with a 279-149 (.651) record all-time in SEC competition and enter the series with the Razorbacks after a week free from mid-week competition. The Gators lead the all-time series over the Razorbacks, 32-10, including a 14-5 advantage in Fayetteville and have four straight sweeps over Arkansas, having won the last 12 consecutive meetings with the Razorbacks.
Nationally, Florida ranks third in the country in ERA (0.92), sixth in win-loss percentage (.929) and ninth in slugging percentage (.549). Individually, Gator hurler Hannah Rogers (Lake Wales, Fla.) checked in at No. 4 in wins (14) and No. 7 in shutouts (6), while senior Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) is sixth in triples (4), ninth in runs per game (1.21) in this week’s NCAA rankings, released Monday.
Through last weekend’s 19-inning series with the Gamecocks, Florida allowed just four runs, while scoring 17, and was led by freshman Lauren Haeger (Peoria, Ariz.), who batted .556 with five hits, two doubles, a homer and six RBI through the three-game set. Haeger additionally improved to 8-1 in the circle, taking Saturday’s victory, while Rogers (14-1) picked up both wins Friday and Sunday, while earning a save – her second of the season – Saturday. Freshman righty Alyssa Bache (Clearwater, Fla.) (4-0) earned the start Sunday, throwing the first three innings and holding USC scoreless on two hits during her time in the circle.
For her efforts over the past week, Haeger was named the SEC Freshman of the Week for the second-consecutive week and the third time this season. Haeger was 5-for-9 (.556) at the plate to lead the squad, while registering three extra-base hits with two doubles and her fifth homer of the season to drive in a team-leading six RBI, over a third of the team’s overall total on the weekend (17). Haeger checked in with a 1.111 slugging percentage, a .600 on-base percentage and a triple shy of hitting through the cycle in Sunday’s series finale. Haeger owns a team-leading eight doubles and reached base in all three games against the Gamecocks, having now reached base in all but three Florida games this year, while currently riding a 14-game reached-base streak. She has eight multiple RBI games for the Orange and Blue and has batted in three or more RBI on five occasions this year, including two games over the weekend.
With Friday’s series opener against the Gamecocks March 16, UF added its 12th run-rule victory of the season, while Saturday’s 1-0 shutout and series clincher counted as the Gators’ 15th shutout of the year. The Orange and Blue are 4-2 on the year against Top-25 competition in 2012 and have secured two extra-innings victories this season (USF Feb. 12, Eastern Michigan March 1) for a 2-0 record in extras.
For all game notes, stats and recaps, be sure to visit www.GatorZone.com/softball throughout the weekend. Gator fans can follow Florida through this weekend’s series through online stats, live pay-per-view streaming through RazorVision and live locally and online on the radio at WYGC-104.9, 105 The Game, with the call by play-by-play announcer Adam Schick. Links for all live action are available at GatorZone.com. For in-game updates on all the action, follow the Gators on Twitter @GatorZoneSBall and check UF’s official softball Facebook page HERE for updates on competition.
Scouting the Razorbacks
Arkansas enters weekend play 18-9 overall, 2-6 in SEC competition, as the Razorbacks are slated to play a doubleheader with Murray State Thursday before the series with UF. The Razorbacks are coming off a weekend series against then- No. 9 Tennessee, including a 4-1 victory over the Lady Vols last Saturday. The win for Arkansas was the first time Arkansas has defeated Tennessee since the 2008 season.
In addition to clipping the Lady Vols, Arkansas took one from South Carolina in the series opener March 9 for a 5-4 victory in eight innings for its first conference win of the year. Arkansas has faced Ole Miss, USC and the Lady Vols thus far in league competition.
The Gators and Razorbacks have two common non-conference opponents so far this year in USF and Tennessee State. Arkansas lost a close one, 7-6, to USF Feb. 18, while claiming a 7-0 victory over Tennessee State in its home-hosted tournament Feb. 24. Florida took a hard-fought victory from the Bulls Feb. 12, a 3-2 decision in eight innings, while downing Tennessee State, 8-0, in a five-inning match up.
Heading into this week’s competition versus Murray State and Florida, freshman Devon Wallace is leading the Razorbacks at the plate with a .370 batting clip, 27 hits, 20 RBI, five doubles and six homers with a .558 on-base percentage and .685 slugging mark. Junior righty Chelsea Cohen has 11 wins in the circle for Arkansas, registering a 2.47 ERA in 110.2 innings pitched, while having fanned 62 on the season.
In league play, Wallace is batting .391 with nine hits and four homers, while Cohen earned both Razorback victories against South Carolina and Tennessee.
Florida vs. Arkansas Series History
Florida leads the series, 32-10
Home: 18-5 Away: 14-5
*Florida has won 12 straight games against the Razorbacks, with four series sweeps entering the weekend*
Last Time Out:
April 8-10, Gainesville, Fla.
Game 1: Florida 4, Arkansas 0
Game 2: Florida 8, Arkansas 1
Game 3: Florida 8, Arkansas 0
Last Game’s Line Score
Florida 8, Arkansas 0 (Apr 10, 2011 at Gainesville, Fla.)
Arkansas............ 000 000 - 0 2 3 (10-32, 1-18 SEC)
Florida............. 101 501 - 8 7 0 (33-7, 10-6 SEC)
Pitchers: Arkansas - McGuirt, L; McLemore(4) and . Florida - Hannah Rogers and .
Win-Hannah Rogers(19-5) Loss-McGuirt, L(2-8) T-1:40 A-787
HR UF - Aja Paculba; Kelsey Bruder; Megan Bush; Cheyenne Coyle.
Weather: 85 degrees, sunny