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Lauren Haeger's no-hitter vs. Wisconsin propelled Florida to a 6-0 start to the season this weekend in Tampa.

Sunday February 9, 2014Haeger's No-Hitter Highlights Doubleheader Sweep

Tampa, Fla.

Lauren Haeger's no-hitter vs. Wisconsin propelled Florida to a 6-0 start to the season this weekend in Tampa.

BOX SCORE—Game 1 (Wisconsin)

BOX SCORE—Game 2 (Bethune-Cookman)

 

Gator Softball swept a pair of games against Wisconsin and Bethune-Cookman on Sunday (Feb. 9) to complete a perfect six-game trip to Tampa for the USF Wilson-DeMarini Tournament. Junior Lauren Haeger threw a no-hitter in the Gators’ 5-1 victory over the Badgers in the first game, marking her first career solo no-hitter. The Orange and Blue mercy-ruled Bethune-Cookman 8-0 (5 innings) in the second contest.

 

Against Wisconsin, Haeger was perfect for the first four innings; she hit a batter in the fifth and then allowed a runner to reach on a fielding error the following inning. The miscue combined with three walks to produce the Badgers’ only run, which was unearned. The righty tied a career-high with 11 strikeouts and faced 26 batters in the contest, five over the minimum.

 

Offensively, Bailey Castro opened the scoring for Florida with an RBI single in the third inning. Kelsey Stewart added a two-run home run, her first of the season, in the fourth. In the fifth, a double by Taylor Schwarz and a single by Aubree Munro completed the Gators’ offensive production for the game.

 

In the tournament finale against Bethune-Cookman, UF erupted in the second inning, scoring all eight of the game’s runs. After Castro walked and advanced to second on a groundout, Stephanie Tofft blasted her first home run of the 2014 campaign to put Florida ahead 2-0. Taylore Fuller followed with a walk and a stolen base, and then advanced to third on a wild pitch before Justine McLean drew a free pass and stole second to set the table for Stewart. The second baseman cleared the bases with a single and advanced to second on the throw. A Kirsti Merritt walk preceded Haeger’s RBI single that plated Stewart, followed by Castro’s second RBI single. Tofft and Fuller drew bases-loaded walks as Florida sent 14 batters to the plate during the frame.

 

In the circle, freshman Delanie Gourley cruised through four innings of one-hit ball, allowing one walk and striking out five. Junior Alyssa Bache pitched the final inning, retiring the first two batters on bunts before walking a batter who subsequently was caught stealing to end the game.

 

NOTABLES

·         Haeger’s no-hitter against Wisconsin was UF’s first solo no-no since Hannah Rogers defeated Longwood 8-0 on April 21, 2013.

·         The Peoria, Ariz., native allowed no earned runs for the 11th time in her career (minimum 4 IP or 3 IP in a five-inning win). 

·         Florida’s 8-0, five-inning win over Bethune-Cookman marked the Gators’ first mercy-rule victory since May 18 of last year, when they defeated USF 11-1 in five innings during the NCAA Gainesville Regional. UF has now run-ruled its opponent twice in the last 13 games.

 

WALTON’S WORDS

On the team’s 6-0 start:

“I thought that as a team, we played pretty well together. You really can’t get too overly critical on the first weekend. Six wins was the goal and that’s what we were able to accomplish.”

 

On Haeger’s no-hitter:

“She was throwing the ball hard, and I thought her location was good. She looked like she was pitching; she didn’t look like she was throwing. In some situations, she throws instead of pitching. I thought this weekend she was probably one of the better of the four pitchers. I was happy with the way Lauren was throwing the ball and the way she kept her location consistent in both of her starts.”

 

On what the Gators need to do to improve against Jacksonville and in Las Vegas:

“The biggest question marks for me as a coach is what kind of offense are we going to run and run consistently. Even though we scored quite a few runs this weekend, my only frustration was the lack of consistency offensively from our whole team. We had some really special individual efforts, but as a team, I thought that offensively we were just okay.”

 

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UP NEXT

Florida hosts Jacksonville University in the Gators’ 2014 home opener Wednesday (Feb. 12) at Katie Seashole Pressly Softball Stadium. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. GatorVision will have live video, and fans also can listen to the action on ESPN 850 and find live stats on GatorZone.com.  

 

-UF-

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