Friday May 18, 2012No. 5 Seed Gator Softball Edged, 2-1, by FGCU in 2012 NCAA Regional Opening Match-Up
FGCU used two solo homers Friday to top the No. 5 seed Florida Gators, 2-1, in the opening contest of the 2012 NCAA Softball Gainesville Regional at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. After a second-inning bomb for the Eagles, the Orange and Blue (46-12) knotted the game at one-all in the third before a sixth-frame blast gave FGCU (38-22) the 2-1 lead it wouldn’t relinquish.
Florida will clash with UCF at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, while Friday’s winners, USF and FGCU, will open the day’s events with a 1 p.m. first pitch. The loser of game one will match up with game two’s winner in game three – slated for 6 p.m. The losers in game two and three will both be eliminated from the NCAA Tournament.
Keep up with all the NCAA Softball Gainesville Regional action at Tournament Central, featuring live streaming, box scores, live stats and quotes from participating teams.
While Friday’s outcome wasn’t exactly the result Florida expected, a highlight was the return of junior Brittany Schutte (Fountain Valley, Calif.) to the UF lineup following an early-season injury in March. Read GatorZone.com’s Chris Harry’s ‘Harry Fodder’ blog entry on Schutte.
Also check out GatorZone.com’s Scott Carter on Friday’s tourney action for the Gators.
Freshman Lauren Haeger (Peoria, Ariz.) led Florida at the plate with a 2-for-3 performance, driving in the Gators’ one run on a single up the middle in the third to plate classmate Briana Little (Middleburg, Fla.). Little kicked things off in the stanza, as Florida was looking to battle back after a second-inning Kirsten Bembnowski bomb to left field. Little sent a base hit of her own to left field, then swiped second on a UF strikeout with two down in the frame before freshman Jess Damico (Gray Summit, Mo.) sent her to third with an infield base hit to set up Haeger’s RBI single.
Two scoreless innings ensued before Emily Lanier got ahold of a Gator Hannah Rogers (Lake Wales, Fla.) pitch, sending it over the left-field fence for the game-winning RBI in the top of the sixth.
Rogers (27-7) and FGCU’s Shelby Morgan (23-6) squared off in the circle for both squads, Morgan taking her 23rd victory of the season, while Rogers shouldered the loss. Both hurlers went the distance, Morgan giving up five hits, Florida’s one run and fanning four, while walking two. Rogers retired nine Eagles by strikeout, gave up just six hits, two runs in FGCU’s two blasts and walked two. For UF’s ace, nine strikeouts were her second-most this season, the most since her season-best 11 March 1.
Lanier led FGCU to its first-ever Division I NCAA Tournament victory in school history in any sport, going 2-for-3 at the plate with a run and RBI from her shot in the sixth.
The Gators are now 21-17 all-time in NCAA Regional play and dropped their opening round contest for the first time since 2006, when FAU got the best of the Gators, 2-0, in Gainesville.