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Stephanie Tofft had three hits, includng a home run, and three RBI in Sunday's win at Texas A&M.

Sunday April 20, 2014Walton Earns 600th Career Win as Gators Complete Sweep of Texas A&M with 8-0 Victory

Gainesville, Fla.

Stephanie Tofft had three hits, includng a home run, and three RBI in Sunday's win at Texas A&M.

BOX SCORE

 

The No. 5/7 Gator Softball team completed a sweep of No. 21/22 Texas A&M on Easter Sunday (April 20). Florida (40-8, 11-7 SEC) defeated the Aggies (29-17, 9-12 SEC) 8-0 (6 innings) to extend its winning streak to nine games. The win marked the 600th victory in the 12-year career of Florida Head Coach Tim Walton. Senior right-hander Hannah Rogers (Lake Wales, Fla.) improved to 20-6 on the year after she allowed one hit over six innings, with one hit batter and nine strikeouts.    

 

Kelsey Stewart (Wichita, Kan.) led off the game with a home run down the right-field line. After Kirsti Merritt (Lake Panasoffkee, Fla.) reached on an error by the Texas A&M shortstop, Stephanie Tofft (Lincoln, Calif.) homered to right field to extend the Florida lead to 3-0. Rogers struck out the side in the bottom of the inning.

 

The Gators added two more runs in the second. Stewart hit a one-out double to set up an RBI single by Tofft, and the senior came home on a double to left from Lauren Haeger (Peoria, Ariz.). Rogers retired all three batters via swinging strikeouts in the bottom of the frame.

 

Florida increased its lead to six in the third when Aubree Munro (Brea, Calif.) drew a two-out walk and came home three batters later on an RBI groundout by Merritt. The Aggies got their first baserunner in the bottom of the inning when Rogers hit a batter with one out, but Merritt made a diving catch in center field on the next play to start an inning-ending double play.

 

Tofft and Little singled for the Orange and Blue in the fourth, but both were stranded. Rogers set down Texas A&M in order in the bottom of the frame, including two strikeouts. Kathlyn Medina (Downey, Calif.) was hit by a pitch with one out in the fifth, and she came home on an RBI groundout by Merritt to push Florida’s lead to 7-0. Rogers retired the Aggies on a flyout and two groundouts in the bottom of the frame.

 

Haeger homered to lead off the sixth, raising the UF advantage to eight. A&M got its first hit of the game on a single up the middle with two outs in the bottom of the inning, but a flyout to center sealed the sweep for the Gators.

 

NOTABLES

·         Walton’s career record stands at 600-174 (.775).

·         The ninth-year Gators coach is 477-110 (.813) since his arrival in Gainesville before the 2006 season.

·         Florida’s all-time softball record stands at 838-357; Walton is responsible for 56.9 percent of the Orange and Blue’s wins.

·         UF swept its second series of the 2014 campaign (also: Auburn, April 4-6).

·         The Gators earned their first road sweep since March 29-31, 2013, when they took three games at Ole Miss. That series also was on Easter weekend.

·         Rogers won her sixth consecutive start dating back to April 4.

·         The right-hander tied her season high with nine strikeouts (also: Feb. 7 vs. Wisconsin).

·         The senior struck out the first seven Aggie hitters, all swinging.

·         Stewart hit her first home run since March 16 at LSU, a span of 18 games.

·         The sophomore had four hits in a game for the second time this season (also: March 8 vs. Ole Miss).

·         The Wichita, Kan., native recorded her team-leading 19th multi-hit game of the season.

·         The infielder posted her 13th multi-RBI game, which ranks second on the team (Tofft – 15).

·         Tofft homered in all three games of the series.

·         Haeger hit a home run for the second consecutive game after going without a home run since March 16.

                                                                                                                                                

WALTON’S WORDS

Head Coach Tim Walton

On how the milestone victory reflects on his program:

“It says a lot about the people we’ve brought in here to play and to compete, and [it shows] how hard we work.”

 

On the key to sweeping a second consecutive SEC series:

“Take nothing away from our offense, but it starts in the circle. Our pitchers have really taken their game to another level, and that makes everybody on the field and in the batter’s box [for Florida] feel comfortable. It all starts in the circle, and they’re doing a great job.”

 

On what the Gators need to do to be successful in Wednesday’s game against USF:

“The same as we always do, we’ve got to swing at strikes to put pressure on them. They always play us tough. It’s one of the better offenses that USF has had. They do a great job, and I was really impressed with them early in the season. It’s going to be a tough test, but we’re looking forward to getting back home.”

 

PLAYER QUOTES

Senior RHP Hannah Rogers

On how reaching the 600-win mark reflects on Coach Walton:

“He’s just an awesome coach. He’s always trying to fix anything that we might be having a problem with. Whether it’s hitting, pitching, defense or communication, he’s always trying to get better in all aspects. He works hard, setting up time for extra hitting and doing little things like that. He’s worked a lot with the pitchers this year on location. That has helped us out a lot too.”

 

On the key to her six-start winning streak:

“I’ve been working hard, throwing more in the bullpen. I’m focusing on spots and location, whether it’s high, low or in the zone for each pitch. I’m working on reading the batter in the box and little things like that.”

 

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UP NEXT

The Gators return home Wednesday (April 23), when they host in-state rival USF in a rematch of the season opener. First pitch from Katie Seashole Pressly Softball Stadium is scheduled for 6 p.m. ET. GatorVision will have live video for subscribers. Radio coverage will be provided on WGGG (1230-AM), 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 view live stats.

 

-UF-

 

 

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