Wednesday March 20, 2013Softball's Rogers and Bache Combine for One-Hitter as Gators Defeat USC Upstate, 11-0, in Five Inn.
Following almost a two hour rain delay at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium, the No. 3 Gator softball team (28-3, 4-2 SEC) worked quickly, using three runs in the first inning and eight in the third to enforce an 11-0 run-rule over USC Upstate (21-3, 5-1 A-Sun), the Gators’ ninth mercy rule and 11th shutout of the season. Junior ace Hannah Rogers (Lake Wales, Fla.) and sophomore hurler Alyssa Bache (Clearwater, Fla.) combined for one-hitter, holding the Spartans hitless on the evening until the fifth.
Rogers received the start and earned the victory in the circle for the Orange and Blue Wednesday, improving to 15-2 overall after recording seven strikeouts in four hitless innings of work, before Bache completed the game with a scoreless frame of her own, allowing a single hit with two Ks. The effort marked the 13th combined one-hitter in Florida history and the first since the same Gator duo shut out Gardner-Webb in five innings last March.
Reigning SEC Co-Player of the Week sophomore Lauren Haeger (Peoria, Ariz.) paced the Gator attack, driving in four runs with a 2-for-3 night at the plate, connecting for a double and homer in the third inning.
Florida used a pair of two-out RBI hits from sophomore Briana Little (Middleburg, Fla.) and junior Stephanie Tofft (Lincoln, Calif.) in the bottom of the first frame to jump out to an early 3-0 lead on Upstate.
Rogers swiftly went to work in the circle on the defensive end for the Gators, punching out two Spartans in the first frame, one in the second, and two in the third and fourth innings each in an efficient 44-pitch outing.
The Orange and Blue kept the bats going in the bottom of the third as the Gators hit around, stringing together an eight-run, five-hit stanza to go ahead of the Spartans, 11-0. Florida first used an infield single from freshman Kirsti Merritt (Lake Panasoffkee, Fla.), followed by a Haeger two-run shot to left field to go ahead, 5-0. Haeger’s bomb marked her team-leading 11th of the season for Florida, her third consecutive game with at least one blast.
Next up, Little drew a walk with no outs on the board to set up a sophomore Bailey Castro (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) two-run jack for the 7-0 Gator lead, chasing Upstate starter Sam Poarch from the circle in favor of Anna Miller. The Gators then drew two consecutive walks before sophomore Katie Medina (Downey, Calif.) cashed in with a RBI single to right field for the 8-0 UF advantage.
Freshman Kelsey Stewart (Wichita, Kan.) was then pegged with a Miller pitch to juice the bags for Merritt, who was able to drive in a run following an Upstate defensive miscue for the 9-0 lead that left the bases loaded. Haeger registered her second extra-base hit of the frame with a two-RBI double to deep right center to take the Gators up the final 11-0 margin following the third stanza.
Following a scoreless fourth for both teams, Bache came on in relief in the circle for UF in the top of the fifth to close things out for the Orange and Blue. Dana Landers connected for Upstate’s first hit of the game, a double to left center, in the top of the fifth, but Bache was effective retiring the final three batters in order – including two strikeouts – to cap off Florida’s 28th win of the season.
Poarch moved to 1-1 on the season in the circle for the Spartans, while she and Miller combined for four Ks on the evening. Poarch was charged with five hits and four earned runs, while Miller gave up two Gator hits and three earned runs in the mid-week contest.
The Gators will next play host to SEC Western Division opponent Arkansas in a three-game set in Gainesville March 22-24 at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. Game times between the Gators and Razorbacks are 6 p.m., 3 p.m. and 1 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
Sunday’s series finale will air live on SunSports/FS Florida. All three games will additionally be streamed live online on GatorVision.
For live updates, box scores, stats, pictures and recaps throughout the season, be sure to visit UF on GatorZone, follow the Gators on Twitter and visit the team on Facebook for all the latest on Gator softball. For broadcast and television information, visit the UF softball schedule page.