Sunday March 9, 2014Florida Beats Ole Miss to Win First SEC Series
Delanie Gourley pitched a shutout to propel the Gators to a series victory over Ole Miss.
Gator Softball won its first SEC series of the 2014 season on Sunday, defeating Ole Miss 2-0 in the rubber game of the teams’ three-game set at Katie Seashole Pressly Softball Stadium. Freshman Delanie Gourley (Lakeside, Calif.) went the distance to improve to 9-0 on the season. The lefty allowed three hits over seven innings with two walks and four strikeouts, tossing her second shutout of the year.
Gourley and Ole Miss pitcher Carly Hummel traded zeros for the first three innings. Gourley retired the Rebels in order in the first two innings before she allowed two baserunners in the third on a hit and a walk. On the UF side, junior Lauren Haeger (Peoria, Ariz.) stroked a single in the first to represent the Gators’ only hit thru the third.
Florida (24-1, 2-1 SEC) got on the board in the fourth with a solo home run from Stephanie Tofft (Lincoln, Calif.), who took Hummel out to center field to give the Gators a 1-0 lead. The Orange and Blue added another run in the next inning with a leadoff homer to right from Chelsea Herndon (Carrollton, Texas), increasing the lead to 2-0.
The cushion was more than enough for Gourley, who allowed just one hit the rest of the way and cruised to the shutout, securing the series victory for the Gators on the first weekend of conference play.
· Tofft’s home run was her fourth of the season, giving her sole possession of second place on the team (Haeger, 9).
· Haeger extended her hitting streak to 11 games, setting a season-high for the Gators.
· Sophomore Kelsey Stewart (Wichita, Kan.) reached base for the 25th consecutive game with a single in the fifth inning.
· Stewart ran her hitting streak to eight games, her longest of the season.
· Gourley extended her scoreless streak to 20 innings, dating back to last Saturday’s game against Fordham.
Head Coach Tim Walton
On the win today to secure the series victory after losing Friday’s opener:
“We didn’t play poorly on Friday. We just didn’t get hits when we needed to get hits—with runners in scoring position, or in crucial situations, or RBI times. Today, I don’t think we got any hits with runners in scoring position either, but at the end of the day, it’s good to get the W. It’s good to bounce back and rebound after a pitcher beat you on Friday.”
On how pitching in big games early in the season will help Gourley as the year goes on:
“It’s going to give her a lot of things. She’s faced some good at-bats. She’s faced some good hitters. I think it’s going to give her a lot of experience. The main thing we’ve got to be able to shape her into is the confidence. She’s got to be able to have the confidence to go out there and throw her pitches—any location, any pitch, any spot, any situation. She’s pitched big games prior to [coming to UF], and I’ve tried to get her to understand that there’s no bigger game than the ones you’ve already played in. Just keep playing, have fun, enjoy it and compete. She competed today. She did good defensively and she really made some good pitches when she needed to.”
On what the Gators need to do to improve this week against Mercer and LSU:
“We’re going to work on a couple of things. The main thing is just getting our hitters to swing the bat confidently in all situations. It’s easy to swing the bat when you’re up 5-0, 6-0, 7-1. I want us to do a good job of swinging the bat when it’s 0-0, when it’s 1-0. It’s not one or two hitters; it’s a lot of hitters. I think that’s going to be the main thing—to not sit back and out-think yourself or try too hard. Just go out there and be aggressive. Do the things you do, see the ball and hit the ball.”
Senior 3B Stephanie Tofft
On if she knew her home run was gone when she hit it:
“No, not quite. I thought it was kind of a pop-up, but I was hustling to [second base] in case she dropped it. It ended up over [the wall], so it worked out, but it was exciting.”
On the team’s adjustments since Friday:
“I think we did much better. We came out with more energy. We came out determined. We weren’t going to let them beat us again, so it was good. They put up a good fight, definitely. [Ole Miss] was a good team, but it was just an overall great team effort on our part.”
On Gourley’s instinct to throw to third on a grounder in the sixth inning, which led to an out in a rundown:
“It was a very smart play on her part, definitely something we work on in practice. She did it perfect, checked the runner, and we ended up getting the out. It worked out great, [and] it was a really good play by her.”
On how Herndon’s home run helped the team:
“I think it helped, but I think all of us were coming out here wanting to get a hit. I think Chelsea did a great job coming up in the next inning and keeping it going and not just letting us go flat after one run. We kept it going a little bit, even if it was just only one more run, she did a really good job staying on it and driving one.”
On how it feels to be into SEC play:
“I’m excited. It’s crazy. It’s the last season [for me], but I’m excited for this team. I think we are going to do great this year. As long as we keep it going like this, I think we’ll do pretty well.”
Freshman LHP Delanie Gourley
On her emotions for today’s game:
“I was just really excited and ready to go. This morning, I was just preparing myself and I was like, ‘Hey, it’s my first [SEC] start. I’m just going to show them what I have and pitch how I know how.’”
On how she stays composed in difficult situations:
“I take deep breaths, and I just look at it one pitch at a time. I say, ‘It’s a tough situation. This is what needs to be done, and that’s it.’ I don’t complicate it. I keep it simple.”
On her performance:
“I was very happy. There are always improvements that need to be made, but overall, I was pretty happy with how I did today.”
On how she chose to throw to third base instead of getting the easy out at first in the sixth inning:
“We’ve been working on my fielding a lot, a lot, and I knew she was the head runner and we had a small lead. I didn’t want to risk anything, so I thought I would check her, and there she was.”
On if the other pitchers have given her advice entering the SEC season:
“They’ve just told me to trust what I have, trust my defense, trust everything, and good things will happen, and they’ve been right.”
On finishing her first SEC series:
“It’s fun. I’m excited. I’m ready to go.”
FOLLOW THE GATORS
The Gators’ six-game homestand concludes with a Wednesday doubleheader against Mercer beginning at 4 p.m. EDT at Katie Seashole Pressly Softball Stadium. GatorVision will have live video of the games for subscribers, and live stats will be available through Gametracker on the GatorZone.com schedule page. Radio coverage will be available on WGGG (1230 AM), with Mike Gillespie and former Gator All-American Megan Bush on the call.