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Taylor Schwarz hit her sixth home run of the season Wednesday at UCF.

Wednesday March 26, 2014Gators Defeat UCF, 10-6, in Sunshine State Matchup

Gainesville, Fla.

Taylor Schwarz hit her sixth home run of the season Wednesday at UCF.

BOX SCORE

 

Gator Softball defeated in-state rival UCF, 10-6, Wednesday (March 26) at the UCF Softball Complex. Florida improved to 31-4 on the year, while the Knights fell to 24-11. Senior Hannah Rogers (Lake Wales, Fla.) ran her record to 14-3 on the season after she worked four innings, allowing three earned runs on four hits with five walks and two strikeouts.

 

The Knights got on the board in the first with a two-run double. In the top of the second, sophomore Taylor Schwarz (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) homered off high-school teammate Shelby Turnier to cut the UCF lead to 2-1.

 

Florida scored seven runs in the fourth. After the first three batters reached base on two walks and a fielder’s choice, shortstop Kelsey Stewart (Wichita, Kan.) gave the Gators the lead with a two-run double that plated Briana Little (Middleburg, Fla.) and Justine McLean (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.).  Following a walk to center fielder Kirsti Merritt (Lake Panasoffkee, Fla.), third baseman Stephanie Tofft (Lincoln, Calif.) doubled down the left-field line to push the UF lead to 4-2. The rally continued when Bailey Castro (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) walked and Chelsea Herndon (Carrollton, Texas) reached on a wild third strike to set up a grand slam from Taylore Fuller (Trenton, Fla.) that gave Rogers an 8-2 cushion.

 

UCF got one run back in the bottom of the fourth on an RBI single to left. Southpaw Delanie Gourley (Lakeside, Calif.) replaced Rogers in the circle in the fifth. Little and McLean smacked RBI singles in the sixth to increase the Gator lead to 10-3.

 

The Knights plated three runs in the bottom of the sixth on a bases-loaded groundout and a two-run single, producing the final margin in Florida’s 10-6 win.

 

NOTABLES

·         The Gators improved to 14-3 all-time against the Knights, including a 10-2 mark under ninth-year Head Coach Tim Walton.

·         Florida ran its record to 26-0 against nonconference opponents in 2014. The Gators are the only SEC team with a perfect record out of conference.

·         Fuller’s grand slam was her second of the season (also: March 14 at LSU), and the team’s fifth; Florida has hit a grand slam in each of its past two wins (Castro, Saturday vs. Alabama).

·         Schwarz has three homers in her last six games following a 19-game drought.

·         Stewart extended her reached-base streak to 35 games her with fourth-inning double. The sophomore has reached base in every UF game this season, and is now two games behind Michelle Moultrie for the longest streak within a single season in UF history (37 games, 2011).

·         Stewart has a nine-game hitting streak in nonconference games.

·         Merritt (first inning) and McLean (fifth inning) both logged their 10th stolen bases of the year; the outfielders are the second and third Gators with double-digit steals this season (Stewart, 20).

·         Merritt logged her sixth multi-hit game of the year, and her fourth in the month of March.

·         The two first-inning runs allowed by Rogers increase her season total to eight runs allowed in the opening frame; the senior has allowed just 23 runs on the year, with more than a third coming in the first.

 

WALTON’S WORDS

Head Coach Tim Walton

On the comeback win on the road:

“We came from behind, so that was a huge moment for the offense to be able to be down and still scratch and claw their way back. I thought we did a good job with our at-bats; in the seven innings, we had leadoff batters on four of the seven. We also did a really good job of hitting both with two strikes and with two outs.”

 

On the improvements Schwarz and Fuller have made on offense as sophomores:

“With the two of them, it’s always been about confidence and pitch selection. They’re both perfectly capable of hitting the ball out to all parts of the field, and they’ve done it in their careers. They’re hard workers, and they have a pretty good feel for their swings. When you have a good feel for your swing and you see good pitches, good things are going to happen.”

 

On what the Gators need to do to be successful this weekend at Tennessee:

“It’s going to come down to—like I talked about with Alabama—we’re going to have to pitch well. We’ve got to go out and pitch well, set the tempo and gain that confidence. I think the pitchers are going to give the hitters confidence and the hitters are going to give the pitchers confidence. When you play a good team like we’re getting ready to play, it’s going to come down to trying to score first and limiting our opponent’s opportunities to score.”

 

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UP NEXT

The Gators will resume SEC play this weekend when they travel to Knoxville, Tenn., for a three-game series at No. 2/3 Tennessee. Friday’s opener is scheduled for 6 p.m. ET. Live video of the game can be accessed through UT’s Website, and radio coverage will be provided on ESPN 850, with Adam Schick and former Gator All-American Megan Bush on the call. In addition, fans can access Gametracker on the GatorZone.com schedule page to find live stats.

 

-UF-

 

 

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