Saturday March 31, 2012Florida-Georgia Softball Series Even with 4-2 Gator Win Saturday
Saturday’s softball action between the No. 4 Gators and No. 9 Bulldogs at Jack Turner Stadium in Athens started with a continuation of Friday’s series opener, a contest Georgia pulled out, 3-2, despite a seventh-inning rally by UF Saturday afternoon. With momentum in favor of the Orange and Blue, the Gators went on to even the series with a 4-2 victory in the second tilt of the three-game weekend set between the two SEC Eastern Division rivals.
The Gators (30-4, 11-2 SEC) used 2-for-3 performances from senior Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) and sophomore Cheyenne Coyle (West Hills, Calif.) in game two to down UGA (29-6, 8-3 SEC), while freshman righty Lauren Haeger (Peoria, Ariz.) came on for five clutch innings of work in the circle, fanning six Bulldogs and giving up just one run, despite six Georgia hits, to earn her 10th victory (10-2) of her inaugural campaign donning the Orange and Blue.
In the continuation of Friday’s halted game, sophomore Kasey Fagan (Dunnellon, Fla.) stepped up and knocked her second homer of the season, a two-run shot, to narrow Georgia’s advantage, 3-2, in the top of the seventh as both squads met at 2 p.m. to wrap up game one. With one out on the board, Georgia leading 3-0 and freshman Katie Medina (Downey, Calif.) on first, Fagan lifted one over the left-center fence to turn over the Gators lineup. Both Sami Fagan (Dunnellon, Fla.) and Moultrie delivered base hits and advanced into scoring position on an Erin Arevalo wild pitch. Arevalo rallied for two strikeouts to secure Georgia’s series-opening victory.
After the Gators’ comeback rally fell short, Florida and Georgia took to the field just a half hour later for the second game of the series. Led by Moultrie and Coyle at the plate, Gator freshmen Bailey Castro (Pembroke Pines, Fla.), K. Fagan and Medina all collected base hits, collaborating for UF’s seven hits in the winning effort.
Georgia sophomore pitcher Morgan Montemayor kicked off the game with five strikeouts, retiring UF in order for two straight innings, with one fly out mixed in – a Coyle shot, that looked like it would clear the center-field fence before being snagged on the warning track.
Gracie Goulder put Georgia on the board in the second with a solo shot to right field, but Florida responded with a K. Fagan RBI single of her own in the top of the third to send junior Ensley Gammel (Bakersfield, Calif.) home with just one out. The Gators continued to put the pressure on, loading the bags, as both Moultrie and S. Fagan at the top of the lineup reached with one out, but Montemayor stranded three on base with two-consecutive strikeouts.
Florida opted to go with Haeger to kick off the bottom of the third after sophomore ace Hannah Rogers (Lake Wales, Fla.) earned her second start of the series. First up, Kristyn Sandberg sent a homer over the left-field fence to give UGA the 2-1 lead, but Haeger used two groundouts and a strikeout to retire the side.
A resilient Gators squad struck back in the top of the fourth to knot the game at two-all. This time, Coyle blasted one over the left-center fence for her eighth long ball of the season, resulting in a tie ball game. The Gator sophomore stepped it up on defense in the bottom of the stanza, turning a double play with junior Sam Holle (Tampa, Fla.) at first base to retire the side following two-consecutive Bulldog base hits after Hager led off with a strikeout.
The Orange and Blue rallied for a two-run fifth frame to take the lead for the first and final time in the clash Saturday, plating two runs, the first on two UGA defensive errors that allowed Moultrie, who led off with a base hit, to cruise to third on an Arevalo throwing error after S. Fagan put the ball in play, and home on a Tess Sito fielding error, while the next score came thanks to a Castro RBI single through the left side that brought S. Fagan across home for the 4-2 Gator lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
Both squads went three up, three down in the sixth inning and each tallied a hit in the final frame, Moultrie reaching on a bunt single and Georgia’s Ashley Razey with a base hit to deep center field, but a 4-2 final evened the series at 1-1 heading into Sunday’s match up.
Montemayor went 3.0 innings, allowing two UF runs on two hits, while fanning seven Gators and walking two, but Arevalo took the decision to move to 14-3 on the year after the final 4.0, where she gave up five hits, Florida’s final two runs, while fanning four. Arevalo earned the win in game one, while Rogers took just her second loss of the season.
Rogers went two innings, gave up three hits and one run with one strikeout and walk before Haeger came on in relief.
First pitch in the series finale between the Gators and Dawgs is slated for 1 p.m. Sunday from Jack Turner Field. Sunday’s game will air live on Fox Sports South in the Atlanta Market and Fox Sports Florida in Florida, with Dave Neal on the play-by-play and Cheri Kempf on color.
For all game notes, stats and recaps, be sure to visit www.GatorZone.com/softball following every game this season. Gator fans can follow Florida’s competition this year through Gametracker online stats, on GatorVision.tv 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 and color analyst Megan Bush.
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.