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Friday February 15, 2013No. 5 Florida Softball Uses Two Run-Rule Victories to Improve to 8-0 After Day One of Lipton Invite

Gainesville, Fla.

The No. 5 Gator softball squad added two run-rule wins to the tally Friday to open play in the three-day 2013 Lipton Invitational at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. The Orange and Blue collaborated for nine extra-base hits, including four homers, three doubles and two triples, as Florida downed UNC Wilmington 10-0 in five innings in the first game of the afternoon, and Savannah State 12-0 in run-rule fashion to close out the evening.

 

Florida is off to an 8-0 start for the third-consecutive season and with their 22 runs Friday, the Gators have now out-scored their opponents 75-13 this season.

 

Sophomore pitchers Alyssa Bache (Clearwater, Fla.) and Lauren Haeger (Peoria, Ariz.) each chalked up Ws in the circle for the Gators Friday, Bache (2-0) with a one-hit shutout against Savannah State in Florida’s second game of the night and Haeger (3-0) with a two-hit shutout against UNC Wilmington in the early game. Haeger fanned eight through five innings against the Seahawks and walked three, while Bache walked just one and retired a career-tying five batters by strikeout in the nightcap against the Tigers. For Bache, the one-hitter was her first complete-game one-hit shutout donning the Gator uniform.

 

Not only did Haeger go to work in the circle for UF, she was 4-for-5 on the day at the plate, including a perfect 2-for-2 against the Tigers, registering an. 800 batting clip with a two-run blast – her first of the season – and two doubles to account for seven of Florida’s 21 RBI on the day.

 

The hot bats were contagious in the Florida dugout – eight Gator players batted .333 or above Friday, led by Haeger’s .800 clip and followed closely behind by junior Stephanie Tofft (Lincoln, Calif.) (.750) and freshmen Kelsey Stewart (Wichita, Kan.) and Kirsti Merritt (Lake Panasoffkee, Fla.), who were both .500 on the day at the dish. Senior outfielder Kelsey Horton (Valrico, Fla.) was 2-for-5 at the plate (.400).

 

Florida was an aggressive 9-10 on the base paths, bringing its season stolen-base tally to 27-29. Stewart swiped four on the night, followed by two each for Tofft and Merritt and one for freshman Taylore Fuller (Trenton, Fla.), her third of the season. Stewart leads UF in the category this season with a perfect 10-10 through the first eight games of 2013.

 

The Gators put up a two spot in the second inning against UNC Wilmington and never looked back, finishing with four runs each in the third and fourth innings to serve the Seahawks their second loss of the day. A sophomore Briana Little (Middleburg, Fla.) two-run shot – her second long ball of the season – started things off for the Gators.

 

Merritt, sophomore Bailey Castro (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) and Haeger all knocked in runs in the third inning against UNCW, Merritt with a two-run blast – her second of the season – and Castro and Haeger with a single up the middle and double to left center, respectively, for the 6-0 Gator lead.

 

A Castro two-RBI base hit and Haeger two-RBI single plated Florida’s four runs in the fourth inning against the Seahawks, and indication of UF’s speed on the base paths.

 

UNCW hurler Kayla Pine dropped to 0-2 on the season with the loss to the Gators, while teammates Morgan McCann and Camry Wagner connected for the Seahawks’ lone two hits of the contest.

 

In game two of the night for Florida against the Savannah State Tigers, Florida scored multiple runs in the first three innings, powered by a six-hit, seven run second frame. The Gators put up two in the first, seven in the second and three in the third in UF’s third run-rule win of the season.

 

Bache carried a no-hitter through 4.1 innings before Tiffany Taylor dropped a blooper in shallow center field for Savannah State’s one hit of the match-up. Bache popped Chloe Brett up and fanned Antonette Smith swinging to wrap up the game in the top of the fifth and improve to 2-0 on the season.

 

A Haeger sacrifice fly and a SSU defensive miscue helped the Gators get things going offensively in the nightcap for a 2-0 advantage after the first inning, but the Orange and Blue busted it wide open in the second thanks to a freshman Aubree Munro (Brea, Calif.) infield RBI single, a Merritt two-RBI triple, a Haeger RBI double and a Tofft two-RBI triple. The Gators capitalized on one of three SSU defensive errors for the seventh run of the frame, as Florida took a 9-0 lead to the third.

 

UF piled on three more runs in the home half of the third inning, first when Stewart showcased her speed with a two-out inside-the-park homer that flew deep to center and smacked off the wall to extend UF’s lead, 10-0. Next up, a Merritt hit-by-pitch set up a Haeger two-run jack to left field – her first of the 2013 campaign – that capped off UF’s scoring against the Tigers at 12 runs.

 

SSU pitcher Madison Hedderly moved to 2-2 on the season after shouldering the loss against the Gators.

 

Day two of the Lipton Invitational kicks off with Western Carolina vs. Charleston Southern at 9:30 a.m. at KSP Stadium.

 

The Orange and Blue will be back at it Saturday with games against Western Carolina (12 p.m.) and Savannah State (2:15 p.m.) before wrapping up weekend play with UNC Wilmington (1 p.m.) and Charleston Southern (3:30 p.m.) Sunday.

 

For a complete schedule of UF’s 2013 Lipton Invitational, visit the Florida softball schedule page on GatorZone.com.

 

Fans planning to attend UF’s Sunday Lipton Invitational games at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium should plan to arrive early, as parking will be impacted by Gainesville’s Five Points of Life Marathon. The 9 a.m. Sunday contest between Western Carolina and Savannah State will be played at Santa Fe College in Gainesville.

 

All broadcast information, including GameTracker, radio and GatorVision live streaming links for the 2013 Lipton Invitational can be found on UF’s schedule page.

 

Be sure to follow the Gators on Twitter and visit the team on Facebook for all the latest on Gator softball.

 

FLORIDA VERSUS ITS REMAINING LIPTON INVITE OPPONENTS

Date

Opponent

Location/Field

Game Time (ET)

Series Notes

2/16

Western Carolina

Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium

12 p.m.

First meeting

2/16

Savannah State

Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium

2 p.m.

UF leads, 1-0

2/17

UNC Wilmington

Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium

1 p.m.

UF leads, 1-0

2/17

Charleston Southern

Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium

3:30 p.m.

First meeting

 

 

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