Sunday April 29, 2012Wildcats Top No. 2 Gator Softball, 5-1, to Take Series
Despite a sac fly that knotted the series finale 1-1 between UF and UK in the bottom of the fifth, the Kentucky softball squad put up a four spot in the top of the sixth to take the series from the No. 2 Gators, 5-1, Sunday at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.
Junior Kelsey Horton (Valrico, Fla.) went 2-for-3, while five other Gators connected for one hit to contribute to the team’s seven overall, but the Wildcats used nine hits and a perfect 3-for-3 performance from Alice O’Brien for their second consecutive series win over the Orange and Blue (43-8, 20-5 SEC).
Chanda Bell (14-10) picked up her second win of the weekend Sunday for Kentucky (26-27, 12-13 SEC), working a complete game with 13 strikeouts, giving up just one walk and one Florida run. For the home team, freshman Lauren Haeger (Peoria, Ariz.) (13-4) was tagged the loss, entering before UF knotted the game in the fifth and giving up UK’s four-run, three-hit sixth inning splurge. Sophomore Hannah Rogers (Lake Wales, Fla.) started the tilt for the Gators, giving up UK’s first run on five hits, with one walk and three Ks. Haeger finished with four strikeouts and three walks, succumbing to four Cat hits and runs through the last three innings.
The Gators got the bats going in the second after sophomore Cheyenne Coyle (West Hills, Calif.) led off with a double to center before Horton knocked a base hit to left field and moved into scoring position with a stolen base for runners on second and third, no outs. Bell shut down the bottom of the Gators lineup, though, fanning UF’s next three batters to retire the side.
Kentucky struck for its first run of the game thanks to a Kara Dill RBI single in the third and senior Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) started the Gators off right, countering with a leadoff bunt single in the home half of the inning, but Bell forced a foul out, pop-up and fly out to strand Moultrie.
Horton snagged her second hit of the day on a one-out double in the bottom of the fourth, but two more Bell strikeouts retired the side before UF could gain any momentum.
The Orange and Blue had its best shot to bust it open in the bottom of the fifth after juicing the bags with no outs. Freshman Jess Damico (Gray Summit, Mo.) legged out a bunt single to lead things off, while Moultrie reached on a hit-by-pitch before freshman Sami Fagan (Dunnellon, Fla.) dropped a bunt single of her own. Next, after blasting one foul down the left-field line, Haeger sent a hard-hit ball to center, plating Damico on a sac fly to knot the game at one-all. A strikeout and pop-up retired UF before the Gators could take a lead.
In the sixth, Kentucky put the game away with four runs on three hits, doing damage with two outs on the board. Brittany Cervantes sent a two-out RBI single past second base to break the tie, 2-1, in favor of UK, allowing O’Brien to move to third after reaching on her third hit of the day. Kara Dill drew a walk to load the bases before Wildcat designated player Rachel Riley roped a three-RBI double to the left corner of the ball park to clear the bags and take UK up, 5-1.
Freshman second baseman Katie Medina (Downey, Calif.) connected for UF’s only hit through the next two innings as Bell rung up three more Gators to secure the win.
Florida will enjoy a mid week free to regroup before heading to No. 3/4 Alabama, for a three-game series May 4-6 that will likely determine the 2012 SEC Champion. Florida will then stay in Tuscaloosa for competition in the 2012 SEC Tournament.
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.