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Taylore Fuller's two-run home run in the eighth inning sealed Florida's 9-4 win over Michigan on Saturday.

Saturday February 8, 2014Florida Mounts Late Comeback to Beat Michigan in Extra-Inning Thriller

Tampa, Fla.

Taylore Fuller's two-run home run in the eighth inning sealed Florida's 9-4 win over Michigan on Saturday.

BOX SCORE

 

The third-ranked Gator Softball team continued its winning ways at the USF Wilson-DeMarini Tournament on Saturday, beating No. 4 Michigan in thrilling fashion with a 9-4 win in eight innings. Florida scored all its runs in the final two frames, tying the game with four runs in the seventh and sealing the victory with five in the eighth. A day after she picked up the save in her collegiate debut against Illinois State, freshman lefty Delanie Gourley earned her first win with a complete game.

 

After loading the bases on three straight singles to start its half of the third inning, Michigan got a grand slam from shortstop Sierra Romero. That was the only scoring in the game until Florida began its rally in the seventh.

 

The Orange and Blue loaded the bases in the seventh, and Aubree Munro began the Gators’ rally with a bases-clearing double to cut the deficit to one at 4-3. Florida tied the game on a single by Kelsey Stewart that scored pitcher Hannah Rogers, who Head Coach Tim Walton sent in as a pinch-runner for Munro.

 

Under international tiebreaker rules, Kirsti Merritt began the top of the 8th on second base, and Bailey Castro brought her home with a double to give UF the lead for good. Taylor Schwarz homered to left after Castro’s double, extending Florida’s edge to three. After Stephanie Tofft walked and stole second, Taylore Fuller hit a pinch-hit home run to right to produce the final margin.

 

NOTABLES

·         Florida earned its first win over a Top 5 opponent since March 6 of last season, when the Gators beat No. 1 Alabama 8-4 in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

·         The Orange and Blue improved to 4-1 under Walton against Michigan.

·         The Gators have scored all 14 of their runs in the last two games in the sixth inning or later. Florida scored 1 run in the sixth and 4 in the seventh Friday to beat Wisconsin 5-3, and scored 4 runs in the seventh and 5 in the 8th in Saturday’s win against Michigan.

·         UF catcher Aubree Munro has recorded five RBI in the last three games (1 each vs. Illinois State and Wisconsin on Friday, and 3 vs. Michigan on Saturday). The sophomore is 5-for-10 over that span.

 

WALTON’S WORDS

On the Gators’ ability to get clutch hits late in games:

“We’ve preached for as long as I’ve coached that no matter what the score, up or down, no matter what the inning—if there are outs left in the game, continue to play and play hard. Play your hearts out for all seven (innings), in this case all eight. If there are outs left, you’ve got to fight until the end.”

 

On Gourley:

“I thought she pitched well. When you look at Michigan’s lineup, I think they had seven of nine returners from last year’s team that went to the World Series. I give them more credit than I take away from Delanie. They’re good hitters.”

 

On what Florida needs to do to build on its early success after winning the first four games:

“More than anything, we need to assess where we are as a team. We had a three-day plan for Thursday, Friday and Saturday. We’ve executed our pitching rotation exactly the way we wanted to. We were able to get Lauren Haeger a day off (from pitching) today. Hannah got a complete day off today except for running the bases. We’ll assess where we’re at. To beat Wisconsin again, we’re going to have to come out with our ‘A’ game.”

 

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UP NEXT

Florida concludes its opening weekend Sunday with a game against Wisconsin at 1:30 p.m., followed by a contest against Bethune-Cookman at approximately 3:45. Fans can tune in to WGGG (1230 AM) to listen to the action, and live stats will be available.

 

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