Sunday March 31, 2013No. 3 Florida Softball Sweeps Ole Miss with 8-0 and 8-7 Wins in Sunday Doubleheader
The Gator softball team used a Sunday doubleheader to sweep its second conference series of the season, taking game one from Ole Miss Friday, 4-1, before weather in the Oxford area forced two games Sunday at the Ole Miss Softball Complex. UF struck with 8-0 and 8-7 victories on the final day of the series for the sweep, as Florida has won all four of its league series thus far in 2013.
UF (35-3, 10-2 SEC) used 17 hits, two doubles, a triple and five home runs through the span of the two games Sunday to sweep the Rebels (19-21, 1-11 SEC).
Sophomore Jessica Damico (Gray Summit, Mo.) led the Gators at the plate with a .429 clip Sunday (3-for-7), while sophomore Briana Little (Middleburg, Fla.) accounted for two of UF’s five long balls. Junior hurler Hannah Rogers (Lake Wales, Fla.) tossed two victories and a save through the weekend set, lowering her ERA to 1.12 on the season and improving to 20-2 in the circle for the Gators thus far in 2013.
Senior Kelsey Horton (Valrico, Fla.) added UF’s eighth grand slam of the year and freshman Kelsey Stewart (Wichita, Kan.) extended her school-record triples tally to seven this season with the Gators’ two wins Sunday.
In game one of the twin bill, the Gators defeated the Rebels, 8-0, to secure the series win over Ole Miss. Rogers earned her second win of the series to improve to 20-2 in the circle for the Orange and Blue, working a complete game with a four-hit shutout and six strikeouts.
The Orange and Blue put up a five spot in the top of the first for the Gators, fueled by a freshman Taylor Schwarz (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) bases loaded walk, while Horton connected for her first grand slam of the season, UF’s eighth of the year, to give Rogers a 5-0 lead to work with in the home half of the frame.
The Gators’ ace struck out the side in the bottom of the first to bring up the second, where the Gators added to the lead.
Damico led off with a double that dropped just fair in left field and Stewart dropped a bunt to advance Damico to third. Next up, junior Stephanie Tofft (Lincoln, Calif.) sent her second blast as a Gator over the right-center fence to extend the UF advantage, 7-0, with one out in the second stanza and chased game one starter Carly Hummel from the circle in favor of Erinn Jayjohn for the Rebels. Jayjohn walked sophomore Lauren Haeger (Peoria, Ariz.) and gave up a base hit to freshman Kirsti Merritt’s (Lake Panasoffkee, Fla.) before getting out of the inning.
The two squads played two innings of scoreless softball in the third and fourth, but Ole Miss connected for its first hit on a Haley Culley infield single in the third, while Londen Ladner connected in the fourth, but the Gators held the Rebels scoreless.
Zeros laced the scoreboard through the fifth and sixth innings, as Rogers added her fourth and fifth Ks in the fifth and sixth innings, respectively.
Little got ahold of a Jayjohn offering and sent her seventh long ball of the season over the left-field fence to lead off the top of the seventh for the Gators, taking the Orange and Blue ahead, 8-0. Schwarz and senior Ensley Gammel (Bakersfield, Calif.) both connected for base hits and quality base running allowed both to move into scoring position with one out, but Jayjohn struck with a strikeout, while Rebel centerfielder RT Cantillo snagged a hard-hit Damico ball to the wall for out number three to retire the side.
Rogers and the defense completed the shutout in the bottom of the seventh, using the Gator righty’s sixth strikeout to end the game and solidify the team’s 14th shutout of the 2013 season.
In game two of the Easter Sunday doubleheader, sophomore Alyssa Bache (Clearwater, Fla.) earned the start and the win in the circle for the Orange and Blue to improve to 6-0 in the circle for Florida. Bache worked four innings before the rain started to fall in Oxford, making for slippery and tough conditions. Rogers came on to close the game out for Bache, adding her second save of the season with three innings of relief.
Florida drew eight walks and connected for seven hits in game two of the doubleheader, including two home runs. All seven base hits came from different Florida players in game two.
The Gators first capitalized on three straight Shelby Jo Fenter walks in the top of the initial stanza to set up UF’s first run on a Little sac fly that plated Stewart from third for the 1-0 Florida lead early. In the top of the third, Florida added three on a blast from Schwarz, her fourth homer of the season, after both Little and Merritt both drew two-out walks to set up the success.
In the bottom of the third, the Gators used a sophomore Aubree Munro (Brea, Calif.) rocket on the base paths to throw out Ole Miss’ Cantillo at second, while Bache worked out of a minor jam with a runner on third, one out for the Rebels, using Munro’s caught stealing and relying on Tofft and Schwarz to team up for the third out of the frame to keep Ole Miss off the board.
Florida’s defense impressed again in the bottom of the fourth with a 5-4-3 double play from Tofft to Damico to Schwarz at first to retire the side, negating a leadoff base hit from Ladner.
In the top of the fifth, the Orange and Blue used a two-run shot from Little, the Gators’ fifth homer of the day after Haeger sent a single down the left-field line to set up the bomb for the 6-0 Florida lead. UF then added two runs in the inning when Merritt crossed after an errant thrown on the Ole Miss catcher, while Stewart sent sophomore Bailey Castro (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) home on a single up the middle for the 8-0 Gator lead.
Ole Miss battled back in the bottom of the fifth with rain pouring down at the Ole Miss Softball Complex to negate UF’s eight-run, mercy-rule lead with a six-run splurge from Brittany Broome and Culley RBI singles and an Allison Brown grand slam before Rogers came on in relief of Bache for her second save of the season.
Rogers effectively retired the Rebels with two groundouts and a fly out to get out of the top of the sixth.
In the home half of the sixth frame, Cantillo made it a one-run ballgame with a RBI single for an 8-7 game, but Rogers and the Gators held on through the seventh for the series sweep to improve to 35-3 and 10-2 in league play.
Shelby Jo Fenter shouldered the loss for Ole Miss in game two (6-8) after giving up UF’s first six runs and three hits, while walking dishing out seven of the Gators’ eight free passes in the contest.
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, 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