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Friday April 20, 2012No. 3/4 Florida Softball Sweeps FIU in Doubleheader Friday to Clinch Series

Gainesville, Fla.

The third-ranked Florida softball squad kicked off its last non-conference series of the 2012 season Friday with a doubleheader sweep over FIU, downing the Panthers 7-4 and 9-0 (5) at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. Freshman Briana Little (Middleburg, Fla.) ripped her first career homer, a three-run blast in game one, to help lead UF’s charge offensively, while freshman Sami Fagan (Dunnellon, Fla.) led the Orange and Blue at the plate Friday with a team-high four hits and four RBI.

 

Florida improved its record to 40-5 overall this season, aided by 13 total hits – including three homers and a triple – while FIU moved to 24-22 following Friday’s twin bill. The Gators and Panthers will meet for the series finale Saturday, with first pitch slated for 1 p.m. from KSP Stadium.

 

Sophomore shortstop Cheyenne Coyle (West Hills, Calif.) dropped her 10th bomb of the season over the right-center fence in the nightcap, accounting for UF’s second-round tripper off the day, while freshman Lauren Haeger (Peoria, Ariz.), who also tossed game two for the Orange and Blue, added the Gators’ third bomb of the doubleheader with a two-run success to enforce the eight-run rule in the bottom of the fifth for UF’s 16th run-rule win and 19th shutout of the season. Coyle led Florida with a .600 batting clip (3-for-5) through Friday’s two games, while S. Fagan wasn’t far behind with a .571 average (4-for-7).

 

Sophomore ace Hannah Rogers (Lake Wales, Fla.) tossed the first game of the twin bill, while freshman righty Alyssa Bache (Clearwater, Fla.) came on in the fifth for her second save of the season. Rogers earned the win to improve to 23-3 overall on the season after working the first 4.0, fanning four, walking two and giving up four hits and runs to the Panthers. Bache put in three innings of scoreless relief, succumbing to four FIU hits, while retiring two batters by strikeout.

 

Haeger (12-2) earned the start in the nightcap, rallying for a three-hit shutout, her fourth complete-game shutout of the season, to add her 12th victory in the circle in 2012. The righty walked just one and retired four by strikeout

 

The Gators fought off a pesky Panther offense that out-hit them 9-7 in the first of Friday’s games, but Florida was patient at the plate, collectively drawing eight walks, UF’s most since nine March 16 versus South Carolina. Freshman Katie Medina (Downey, Calif.) led the charge with three free passes in game one. UF then worked game two starter Mariah Dawson for seven walks, reaching base on balls 15 times in the two-game outing.

 

Florida pushed across three runs on two hits in the bottom of the second inning in the first game of the doubleheader to give the Orange and Blue an early 3-0 edge, thanks to a RBI single from senior Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.), while S. Fagan followed with a two-RBI triple after two FIU outfielder’s battled the sun on a sky high ball to right-center. Little added three to UF’s tally in the third, smoking a one-out, three-run missile over the left-field fence for her first career blast donning the Orange and Blue for the 6-0 Florida lead.

 

The Panthers made it interesting in the fourth, adding four runs on five hits to the score sheet. Ashley McClain plated FIU’s first run in the top of the fourth on a RBI double to left center to narrow the Gators’ margin, while teammate Rachel Slowik added one for the Panthers with a RBI single through the right side with runners on second and third for two FIU runs on the board. Kelsey Grabiak struck next for the Panthers to cut the Florida lead in half, sending one up the middle for 6-3 margin. A Florida defensive miscue allowed FIU’s fourth and final run cross the dish in the fourth stanza before a fielder’s choice and fly out retired the side, with the game at 6-4 heading to the home half of the inning.

 

Junior Sam Holle (Tampa, Fla.) dropped a RBI blooper to left to add some insurance in the sixth inning for the 7-4 UF lead, while the Gator defense held steady in the top of the seventh for the victory. Holle was 1-for-1 on the day with a RBI, while S. Fagan and Coyle were both 2-for-4 in game one, Fagan with two RBI and Coyle with one run.

 

In the nightcap, Florida scattered at least one run in each of the five innings played, highlighted by a four spot in the fourth and a Haeger two-run homer in the fifth. S. Fagan went 2-for-3 with two runs, two RBI and a walk to complete the day’s efforts.

 

UF first capitalized on a FIU defensive miscue in the initial stanza after S. Fagan laid down a bunt single that allowed Moultrie, who led off with a walk, to scamper home from first after an errant throw for the early 1-0 Gator lead. S. Fagan struck again in the second with her second hit of the game, a RBI single to center field that plated sister Kasey Fagan (Dunnellon, Fla.) for the 2-0 Florida advantage.

 

The Orange and Blue steadily increased the lead in game two, adding another run in the third from a Coyle solo shot, lifted to right center for Florida’s second homer of the doubleheader.

 

With bases loaded in the fourth with no outs, S. Fagan drew a walk for another RBI, giving UF a 4-0 lead, while Coyle followed with a one-out free pass to bring home UF’s fifth run of game two. Next up, junior Kelsey Horton (Valrico, Fla.) sent a two-RBI base hit through the left side for the 7-0 Gator lead before a junior Ensley Gammel (Bakersfield, Calif.) walk juiced the bags for Little. A change in the circle for the Panthers from starter Mariah Dawson to Shelby Graves proved to be effective as Graves used a strikeout and fly out to retire the side.

 

Florida held FIU scoreless in the top of the fifth and collaborated for a 9-0, five-inning run-rule after Haeger smashed a two-run homer – her 10th of the year and UF’s third of the night – over the left-field fence to plate herself and S. Fagan for the final two UF runs of the evening.

 

The Gators and Panthers will meet for the final game of the three-game series Saturday, with first pitch set for 1 p.m. from Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. UF and FIU fans can watch live streaming of Saturday’s game on GatorVision through GatorVision.tv, tune in live locally and online to WYGC-104.9 FM, 105 The Game, with Adam Schick and Megan Bush or follow live stats online through Gametracker, with all links accessible on GatorZone.com/softball.

 

For all game notes, stats and recaps, be sure to visit www.GatorZone.com following each game through the remainder of the season. 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.

 

POSTGAME NOTABLES

 

·         UF head coach Tim Walton now has 494 career wins, just six shy of career win number 500

·         UF was 5-for-5 on the day in stolen bases. This season, the Gators are 57-71

·         The Gators drew 15 walks during today's doubleheader, eight in game one and seven in the nightcap

·         Briana Little knocked her first career home run in the 4th inning of the first game

·         In the first game, the Gators posted three runs off two hits and left one on in two straight innings (third and fourth frames)

·         The Gators committed their first error in six games, last putting a miscue on the box April 7

·         The first game ended on a Gators' 5-4-3 double play. Lauren Haeger's two-run blast in the fifth closed out the second game with UF’s 16th run rule victory this year. The shutout marked the team’s 19th

·         Cheyenne Coyle hit her tenth home run of the season, as did Haeger. Three UF players now have 10 homers apiece, including junior Kelsey Horton

·         Florida clinched its 13th-straight regular-season, three-game series. Its last loss in this category occurred on April 2, 2011 at Kentucky

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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