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Kirsti Merritt hit two home runs in the first game of Sunday's doubleheader at Tennessee.

Sunday March 30, 2014Gators Drop Twinbill at Tennessee

Gainesville, Fla.

Kirsti Merritt hit two home runs in the first game of Sunday's doubleheader at Tennessee.




The fourth-ranked Gator Softball team lost a doubleheader at No. 2/3 Tennessee on Sunday (March 30). Florida fell by scores of 7-6 and 5-2. Game 1 of the twinbill was suspended midway through the contest due to television obligations, and resumed following the completion of Game 2.


After Kelsey Stewart (Wichita, Kan.) led off Game 1 with a double, Kirsti Merritt (Lake Panasoffkee, Fla.) gave the Gators a 2-0 lead with a two-run home run to left-center. The Lady Vols countered with a solo shot in the bottom of the frame, and added a walk and hit-by-pitch with the bases loaded to take a 3-2 lead after one inning.


Tennessee scored another run on a wild pitch in the second. Merritt led off the following frame with her second homer of the game, trimming the Gatorsí deficit to 4-3 before a bases-loaded walk to Taylor Schwarz (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) knotted the score at four. Stewart then gave the Orange and Blue a 6-4 lead with a two-run single down the right-field line that scored Bailey Castro (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) and Schwarz.


The first game was suspended after five innings. When Game 1 picked up again, Stephanie Tofft (Lincoln, Calif.) singled and Castro walked in the top of the sixth, but both were stranded. Tennessee took a 7-6 lead in the bottom of the frame on a solo home run, a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch and a sacrifice fly. Florida had runners at second and third with no outs in the seventh, but a double play and a strikeout ended the game. ††


Florida opened the scoring in the second game with a second-inning double from Stewart that plated Tofft and Schwarz. Tennessee pulled ahead 3-2 with three runs in the fourth on a solo home run, an RBI single and a run-scoring groundout.


The Gators loaded the bases with two outs in the sixth, but were unable to convert the scoring opportunity. Tennessee added two more runs in the bottom of the frame on a pair of RBI singles, producing the final margin in the Lady Volsí 5-2 win. †



         Merritt recorded her second career multi-homer game in the opener (also: March 1 vs. Fordham).

         The sophomore homered for the second consecutive game in Game 1; before Friday, she had gone homerless since March 1, a span of 17 games.

         The outfielder leads the Gators with three home runs in SEC play.

         Merritt recorded her eighth multi-hit game of the year, taking sole possession of second place on the team.

         Stewart extended her reached-base streak to 38 games with a total of four hits and two walks in the two games; this sets a UF record for the longest streak within a single-season (Michelle Moultrie, 2011).

         The sophomore increased her hitting streak to six games with hits in both contests.

         The Wichita, Kan., native logged her team-leading 14th and 15th multi-hit games.

         Florida drew 10 walks in Game 1 and eight in Game 2, marking the fourth and fifth times in 12 SEC games that UF has drawn at least seven bases on balls (last: March 21 vs. Alabama).

         Delanie Gourley (Lakeside, Calif.) walked a career-high five batters in Game 1 (previous high: 4, Feb. 21 vs. Indiana).

         The home run in Game 2 was the sixth Rogers has allowed in SEC play this season; the senior allowed seven home runs to conference opponents in 2013.

         Hannah Rogers (Lake Wales, Fla.) issued a season-high six walks in Game 2 (previous: 5, Wednesday at UCF).



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The Gators return home on Wednesday (April 2), when they will host in-state rival Florida State at 6 p.m. at Katie Seashole Pressly Softball Stadium. will have live video, 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 schedule page to find live stats.





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