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Tuesday March 18, 2014Gators Defeat CCSU, 8-2, in Tune-up for Alabama

Gainesville, Fla.

Hannah Rogers no-hit Central Connecticut State over 4.1 innings on Tuesday.

BOX SCORE

 

Gator Softball defeated Central Connecticut State 8-2 on Tuesday (March 18) at Katie Seashole Pressly Softball Stadium in the teams’ first-ever meeting. Senior Hannah Rogers (Lake Wales, Fla.) pitched 4.1 innings of no-hit ball with a walk and a strikeout to improve to 12-2 on the season.

 

Both teams went scoreless in the first two frames before the Orange and Blue (29-2) got on the board with an RBI triple from Kelsey Stewart (Wichita, Kan.) that plated Justine McLean (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.).  

 

The Gators’ offense erupted for five runs in the fourth. The action began when Kirsti Merritt (Lake Panasoffkee, Fla.) and Taylor Schwarz (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) hit back-to singles to set up a three-run home run by Taylore Fuller (Trenton, Fla.) that increased the UF lead to 4-0. Florida’s outburst continued when Stephanie Tofft (Lincoln, Calif.) reached on an errant throw that pulled the CCSU first baseman off the bag, allowing McLean and Stewart to come home.

 

Freshman Delanie Gourley (Lakeside, Calif.) replaced Rogers in the circle in the fifth inning, and continued to shut down the Blue Devil offense. Meanwhile, junior Bailey Castro (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) added another run for the Gators with a solo home run in the bottom of the frame that pushed the lead to seven.

 

The Blue Devils got a pair of runs in the sixth on a two-run double before Chelsea Herndon (Carrollton, Texas) hit a leadoff triple in the bottom of the inning, setting up an RBI single from Tofft that produced the final margin in the Gators’ 8-2 win.

 

NOTABLES

·         Every Florida starter had at least one hit.

·         Stewart’s run-scoring triple gave her 31 RBI on the season, surpassing her total of 30 from last year in the Gators’ 31st game of 2014.

·         The sophomore extended her team-best hitting streak to 14 games, and continued her run of reaching base in every game this year.  

·         The infielder logged her 13th multi-hit game of the year, which leads the team.

·         Fuller’s home run was her fifth of the year in her 24th game, surpassing the four she hit in 56 games last season.

·         Rogers did not allow a hit in 4.1 innings of work, marking the second start this season where she gave up no hits (also: Feb. 22 vs. Indiana, 5-inning no-hitter).  

·         The senior’s 12th win gave her the team lead, breaking a tie with Gourley.

 

WALTON’S WORDS

Head Coach Tim Walton

On getting production from the middle of the lineup:

“That was good. Obviously, Taylore Fuller has had some really good ABs of late, and a lot of RBI. I’m happy with our lineup up and down. All of our starters had a hit. To me, that’s huge when you can get up and down the lineup like that. [It’s] really important.”

 

On scoring eight runs off CCSU pitcher Laura Messina:

“She’s got some quality wins this year. You can easily see why she’s got more than one strikeout per inning with that up-pitch and the change of speed down. We were really dialed into the [pitches] down--I think we only swung and missed one time [in that area]. We were really balanced. We chased a couple of pitches up, but you’re going to do that with that kind of spin. I thought we came in, didn’t look great early, and then found a way to make some adjustments.”

 

On Stewart’s development as a sophomore:

“You look at our record, we’re 29-2. She’s been on base 31 games in a row. She’s it. As she goes, we’re going to go. It’s really clear to see just how important she is to our team all the way around.”

 

On using all four pitchers in the game before the Alabama series:

“We’re just trying to keep them sharp, keep them in their competitive flow. Delanie’s trying to work on a couple little things. Hannah, same thing. Lauren pitched on Friday, but she really hasn’t had that many innings as of late. We’re going to need everybody. We’re going to need them all. Sometimes you need four [pitchers] in a game, sometimes you need two in a weekend; sometimes you need four in a weekend. We’ve got to keep everybody ready to go.”

 

PLAYER QUOTES

Sophomore 2B/SS Kelsey Stewart

On her hitting performance today:

“It was great.  I feel like I was seeing the ball really well today.  To do that for my team today was nice. I work hard every single day, seven days a week.  Being able to get hits and do my job is great. I’m just focusing one game at a time.”

 

On the Alabama series this weekend:

“We’re super excited. Going into the game knowing it will be a great crowd and environment has us very excited.”

 

Sophomore C Taylore Fuller

On her offensive production in recent games:

“I’ve been feeling really good in the box. We’ve been working really hard on all of our swings, and producing is what we aim for the entire season.  I was scoring runs for the team, not so much for myself.  I could care less about stats.  We’re winning games and that’s all that matters.”

 

On the team’s offensive performance:

“We swung the bat well today. We’ve been working really hard on our swings, trying to get back into rhythm and timing the pitchers.  Every pitcher is different.  We’re always going to have to adjust, but we swung the bat well today.”

 

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UP NEXT

The Gators host SEC rival Alabama this weekend for a three-game series at Katie Seashole Pressly Softball Stadium. Friday’s opener is scheduled for 6 p.m. ET. The game will air live on Fox Sports Florida, with Larry Vettel and former Gator All-American Megan Bush on the call. Radio coverage will be available on WGGG (1230 AM), with Mike Gillespie handling play-by-play. Fans also can follow the action on Gametracker, which is available on the schedule page on GatorZone.com.   

 

-UF-

 

 

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