Friday April 27, 2012No. 2 UF Softball Edged, 2-0, by UK in Series Opener; Gators Look to Even Series on Senior Day Saturday
In its final home series of the 2012 regular season, the No. 2/4 Florida softball squad dropped a close one Friday as the Kentucky Wildcats took a 2-0 decision in the series opener at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. UK used a two-run, two-hit third inning for the win, as both hurlers dueled it out in the circle, giving up just four hits each.
The Orange and Blue (42-7, 19-4 SEC) will look to even the series with the Wildcats Saturday, as the Gators honor Florida senior All-American centerfielder Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) on Senior Day. Moultrie will be recognized in a pre-game ceremony at approximately 12:30 p.m. Saturday before first pitch with UK at 1 p.m.
Attempting its ninth come-from-behind victory of the season, Moultrie led UF’s efforts with a 2-for-3 performance at the plate Friday evening, dropping two bunt singles to increase her career total to 68 through her tenure as a Gator. A 2012 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award and USA Softball Player of the Year top-10 finalist, Moultrie added her 21st multiple-hit game of the year to the stat sheet.
UF sophomore ace Hannah Rogers (Lake Wales, Fla.) worked her 22nd complete game of the season, giving up just four UK hits and one earned run, but Rogers was charged her fourth loss of the season (25-4). The Gators’ righty fanned four, while walking three. In the other dugout, Kentucky senior pitcher Chanda Bell also went the distance, tossing a four-hit shutout, fanning eight Gators and walking one to improve to 13-10 on the season. With the win, the Wildcats improved to 25-26 overall, 11-12 in league action.
The Gators collaborated for one hit each in the first and second frames as Moultrie led off the game for the Orange and Blue with a bunt single, while freshman Lauren Haeger (Peoria, Ariz.) connected for a two-out single up the middle in the second stanza, but UF left both Gators on. UK’s offense swung into action in the top of the third with a two-spot for the first – and only – runs of the day for either club.
Wildcat senior Brittany Cervantes smoked a liner over the left-field fence for the 1-0 lead on her 10th long ball of the year before junior Kara Dill took two bases after capitalizing on a Gator defensive miscue. Next up, senior Rachel Riley struck for a RBI single to plate Dill for Kentucky’s second run of the game and the 2-0 lead.
Florida tried to take advantage of two UK errors in the home half of the third when freshman Katie Medina (Downey, Calif.), UF’s leadoff batter in the stanza, reached on a UK throwing error, while a sophomore Kasey Fagan (Dunnellon, Fla.) sac bunt moved her to second and turned over the Gator lineup. On the ensuing play, Moultrie laid down a bunt single, took second on an error when the UK first baseman overthrew the toss to the Wildcat second baseman, Emily Jolly. Medina attempted to scamper home on the play from second, but Jolly tossed to catcher Griffin Joiner for the second out of the stanza at the dish. An interference call retired the side before UF could cut the Kentucky lead.
After scoreless fourth and fifth innings for both teams, freshman Sami Fagan (Dunnellon, Fla.) dropped a one-out blooper in shallow left center for UF’s fourth and final hit of the day in the bottom of the sixth, but a Bell strikeout and pop-up retired the Gators.
UK pinch hitter Sarah Frazer added a hit to the Wildcats’ hit tally in the seventh, but a fielder’s choice, fly out and ‘runner-left-early’ call halted UK from adding to the score. Bell retired the Gators in order in the bottom of the seventh to clinch Kentucky’s fourth-straight victory over Florida, its fifth win all-time in Gainesville.
Cervantes led UK’s efforts with a 2-for-2 performance, one run and one RBI on the evening.
The Gators and Wildcats will return Saturday in the second game of the series as the Orange and Blue attempt to even the series on Moultrie’s Senior Day. Moultrie’s senior day celebration will kick off approximately half hour before the scheduled 1 p.m. first pitch. Saturday’s game will be broadcast live on Sun Sports, with Larry Vettel and Mary Ratliff on the call.
Gator and Wildcat fans can also tune in online to GatorVision.tv for live streaming of the two remaining games of the weekend pack, follow live stats online through Gametracker, or dial in to WYGC-104.9, 105 The Game, live locally and online to Adam Schick and Megan Bush on the radio. For all links and game day information, visit www.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.