Friday March 23, 2012No. 4 Gator Softball Takes Series Opener at Arkansas, 6-0, Behind Moultrie's 4-for-4 Performance
Senior All-American Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) went 4-for-4 with a stolen base and two doubles as the Orange and Blue opened the series at Arkansas with a 6-0 victory at Bogle Park Friday. A season-best performance for Florida’s lone senior, Moultrie additionally tallied two RBI and scored two runs for her 13th multiple-hit performance of the year as UF improved to 27-2 overall and 8-1 in league play.
Freshman Lauren Haeger (Peoria, Ariz.) went 2-for-3 at the plate, extending her active reached-base streak to 15-straight games as UF tallied nine hits and scattered its six runs in the third, fourth, fifth and sixth frames to defeat the Razorbacks (18-10, 2-7 SEC).
Sophomore ace Hannah Rogers (Lake Wales, Fla.) chalked up her 15th victory of 2012, improving to 15-1 in the circle with a four-hit, complete-game shutout. For the 12th time this season, Rogers went the distance for her seventh shutout, as the Gators racked up their 16th shutout as a team this year, the fourth in league play. The righty walked just two Arkansas hitters and fanned four, while Razorback hurler Chelsea Cohen shouldered the loss (11-7).
Moultrie and Haeger both connected for base hits to kick off the game for the Gators, but after scoreless first and second innings for both teams, the Gators pushed three runs across in the third, stringing together a three run, three hit stanza as freshman Sami Fagan (Dunnellon, Fla.) slapped one to the short stop for a base hit to lead off the inning, while Moultrie roped a ball down the third-base line to score Fagan for a 1-0 advantage with no outs.
Next up, Haeger knocked her sixth round-tripper over the left-center fence to plate Moultrie and herself to take the Gators ahead, 3-0. Three groundouts ended the stanza, but not before UF took a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.
The Razorbacks had their chance in the third, loading the bags in the bottom of the frame on a Devon Wallace walk and Chloe Oprzedek and Jayme Gee base hits, but with two outs, Rogers fanned Clarisa Navarro swinging to get out of the jam.
Junior Ensley Gammel (Bakersfield, Calif.) tacked on another run in the top of the fourth with her third homer of the season, just her fifth career bomb, smacking a hard-hit ball that bounced on and then dropped over the left-field fence to give the Orange and Blue a 4-0 lead.
Rogers forced a three up, three down situation in the bottom of the fourth, bringing up the fifth, where Moultrie led off with her second double of the day, accomplishing the feat for the first time since junior Brittany Schutte (Fountain Valley, Calif.) did so against Maine earlier this year. The Razorbacks then opted to intentionally walk Haeger, while freshman Bailey Castro (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) drew a walk to load the bases with no one out, enabling freshman Jess Damico (Gray Summit, Mo.) to come in as a pinch runner.
After a Gator strikeout, junior Kelsey Horton (Valrico, Fla.) dropped a sac bunt that plated Moultrie to extend the UF lead, 5-0, while Haeger and Damico moved to second and third before Arkansas retired the side with a strikeout to end the inning.
Moultrie struck again in the sixth after freshman Katie Medina (Downey, Calif.) connected for a base hit and moved to second on a Gator groundout, as the 2011 All-American smacked one to left center for her fourth hit of the day, giving Medina the go-ahead to trot home for UF’s sixth and final run.
Both squads went three up, three down in the seventh, sealing the series-opening victory in favor of the Orange and Blue.
The Gators and Razorbacks will do it again Saturday in the second game of the series, with first pitch set for 1 p.m. at Bogle Park in Fayetteville. Florida will be looking for its fifth-straight sweep over Arkansas this weekend and will aim for the series clincher Saturday.
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.