Friday March 29, 2013No. 3 Florida Softball Opens Series at Ole Miss With 4-1 Victory
The No. 3 Florida softball team opened the series at Ole Miss with a 4-1 victory Friday night at the Ole Miss Softball Complex, as junior Stephanie Tofft (Lincoln, Calif.) and sophomore Jessica Damico (Gray Summit, Mo.) each drove in two runs, while freshman Taylore Fuller (Trenton, Fla.) was 2-for-3 at the plate for the Gators.
Florida (33-3, 8-2 SEC) made it eight straight wins over Ole Miss (19-19, 1-9 SEC) Friday with its 37th all-time victory over the Rebels, 16th in Oxford, to open the three-game conference set.
The Gators put up seven hits in the contest, Tofft and Fuller with two each.
Junior ace Hannah Rogers (Lake Wales, Fla.) led the way in the circle for the Orange and Blue with her 13th complete game of the season. Rogers fanned five, gave up one run and two hits to improve to 19-2 overall on the year. Carly Hummel (8-11) shouldered the loss for the Rebels after giving up UF’s seven hits and four earned runs, also going the distance. Hummel finished the evening with six Ks and dished out one free pass.
The Gators were off to a quick start in the top of the first, as freshman Kelsey Stewart (Wichita, Kan.) dropped a leadoff bunt single, then swiped her 26th stolen base of the season to set up a Tofft RBI double to deep center for the early 1-0 lead. For Tofft, the two-bagger was her team-leading 11th of the year.
Rogers went to work in the circle in the home half of the stanza, retiring the Rebels using an efficient six pitches for three up, three down to bring up the second.
With two down in the top of the second and senior Kelsey Horton (Valrico, Fla.) on first after the team’s 45th hit-by-pitch of the season, Damico went yard with her fifth long ball of the season – a two-run shot – to extend the Gator advantage, 3-0.
On defense, Rogers faced just 10 Ole Miss batters through the first three innings and fourteen through four, walking one in the second and giving up Ole Miss’ first hit of the game in the bottom of the fourth, while retiring the remaining 12. The Rebels drew their second walk of the contest in the bottom of the fifth, while the Gators’ righty faced just four in the stanza.
The Rebels made a push in the bottom of the sixth with runners on first and second after a RT Cantillo walk and Brittany Broome bunt single, while Cantillo and Broome moved to second and third with one down after a sacrifice bunt. Londen Ladner then connected for a sac fly to center to narrow the Gators’ margin, 3-1, heading to the seventh.
Florida added one run for insurance in the top of the seventh after a leadoff single through the left side for Fuller followed by a Damico sac bunt to move Fuller into scoring position at second. With two down in the top of the final frame, Tofft knocked her second RBI base hit of the contest, sending a single to center to plate Fuller for the 4-1 Gator lead heading to the home half of the seventh.
Rogers retired Natalie Nimmo, pinch hitter Lauren Lindsey and Marina Parra in order in the bottom of the seventh to solidify UF’s eighth conference win of the season.
The Gators and Rebels will be back at it at 3 p.m. (ET) Saturday for the second game of the three-game set from the Ole Miss Softball Complex in Oxford. Sunday’s series finale is slated for 2 p.m. ET.
Following the series with Ole Miss, UF will return back to Gainesville for a five-game home stand April 3-10, as the Gators play host to UCF, Mississippi State & USF at home.
For live updates, box scores, stats, pictures and recaps throughout the season, be sure to visit UF on GatorZone.com, 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