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Hannah Rogers pitched a complete game to earn her seventh victory of the season.

Friday February 28, 2014No. 1 Florida Defeats No. 4 Oregon, 2-1, in Extra-Inning Thriller

Kissimmee, Fla.

Hannah Rogers pitched a complete game to earn her seventh victory of the season.

BOX SCORE

 

The No. 1 Gator Softball team (17-0) earned its second win of the season against a Top-5 opponent, defeating No. 4 Oregon 2-1 (8 innings) on Friday in the Diamond 9 Citrus Classic at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

 

Senior Hannah Rogers (Lake Wales, Fla.) improved to 7-0 on the year, allowing one earned run on six hits with one walk and eight strikeouts in her sixth complete game of the season. Junior Lauren Haeger (Peoria, Ariz.) provided an offensive spark for the Gators with a solo home run in the fourth inning, and sophomore Kelsey Stewart (Wichita, Kan.) sealed the victory in the eighth when she scored on a wild pitch.

 

Both offenses were quiet in the early going, as the Ducks got the only hit through the first two innings. Oregon got on the board in the bottom of the third when a run scored on a Florida throwing error. Haeger provided an answer for the Gators with her solo blast to left-center field that tied the game at one apiece.

 

Florida threatened in the fifth, when Stewart walked and stole second. Oregon stifled the Florida rally by cutting Stewart down at the plate when she tried to score on a single by Kirsti Merritt (Lake Panasoffkee, Fla.). Rogers held the Ducks without a hit in the fourth and fifth innings, and neither team was able to convert on a hit apiece in the sixth.

 

Oregon had the potential winning run on second with one out in the bottom of the seventh, but a key defensive play by third baseman Stephanie Tofft (Lincoln, Calif.) started a 5-3 double play to end the threat and send the game into extra innings. Under international tiebreaker rules, Stewart was placed on second base to begin the eighth inning, and Merritt moved her to third on a sacrifice bunt before the wild pitch allowed Stewart to come home with the deciding run.    

 

 

NOTABLES

·         The win marked Florida’s second extra-inning victory of 2014, following a 9-4 (8 innings) win over Michigan Feb. 8 at the USF Wilson-DeMarini Tournament in Tampa.

·         UF defeated its second Top-5 opponent of the year (also: Feb. 8 vs. then-No. 4 Michigan).   

 

WALTON’S WORDS

On the Gators’ mental toughness after earning their second extra-inning win over a Top-5 opponent:

“That’s exactly what it comes down to—being mentally tough, being poised under pressure. Two of our biggest games of the year have gone into extra innings against two Top-5 teams. It says a lot about the way we prepared and accepted the challenge and found a way to win.”

 

On Rogers’ pitching:

“She’s throwing to all different parts of the zone. She’s throwing the ball up, she’s throwing the ball down, she’s throwing the ball in and out. Today she didn’t throw as many of her off-speed pitches as she’s been using lately. I think she’s done a good job of being able to pitch to her strengths, and also pitching to our opponents’ weaknesses. She’s been able to exploit some things that she sees out there.”

 

On how the Gators avoid a mental letdown after today’s win:

“I think we pitched well. We played pretty good defense in spots—Tofft’s double play was awesome today. I think from an offensive perspective, even though we were able to manufacture a couple runs, I don’t think our kids are satisfied with the way they performed today at the plate. That right there is motivation in itself. That’s the kind of program that we’ve built. This is a program where we’re striving for perfection. We want to be good in all facets of the game. I want us to go out tomorrow and pitch well, run the bases well and play great defense, and obviously be fun to watch and get on base offensively.”

 

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UP NEXT

The Gators will continue play in the Diamond 9 Citrus Classic on Saturday, when they face Fordham (1:15 p.m. EST) and Ohio State (5:45 p.m. EST). Radio coverage will be provided by WGGG (1230-AM). Mike Gillespie and former Gator All-American Megan Bush will have the call.  

 

-UF-

 

 

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