Sunday April 27, 2014Rally Comes Up Short as No. 3/5 Gators Drop Finale to No. 15/17 Missouri, 5-4
Briana Little scored a run and had two hits Sunday in Florida's loss to the Tigers.
The No. 3/5 Gator Softball team fell to No. 15/17 Missouri, 5-4, on Sunday (April 27) in the final game of the teams’ three-game series at Katie Seashole Pressly Softball Stadium. Florida (42-10, 12-9 SEC) rallied from a five-run deficit to cut the Tigers’ lead to one in the fifth inning, but the Gators could not complete their comeback against Missouri (38-13, 14-7 SEC). Senior Hannah Rogers (Lake Wales, Fla.) took the loss, dropping to 21-8 after she allowed five earned runs on six hits over seven innings, with two walks and a strikeout.
A one-out grand slam gave the Tigers a 4-0 lead in the top of the first. Florida was retired in order in the bottom of the inning before a leadoff homer in the second extended the Mizzou advantage to five. The Orange and Blue answered back with three runs in the home half. Junior Lauren Haeger (Peoria, Ariz.) reached on an error to lead off before Briana Little (Middleburg, Fla.) walked. Both Gators moved up on a wild pitch, and Taylore Fuller (Trenton, Fla.) drew a free pass to load the bases. Another base on balls to Aubree Munro (Brea, Calif.) plated Haeger for the Gators’ first run, and Little came home on the next play on a wild pitch. Fuller scored two batters later on a passed ball to cut Missouri’s lead to 5-3.
Rogers retired the Tigers in order in the third. Kirsti Merritt (Lake Panasoffkee, Fla.) was hit by a pitch to start the inning for Florida, and Stephanie Tofft (Lincoln, Calif.) followed with a single up the middle. Bailey Castro (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) drew a two-out walk to load the bases, but the Gators could not capitalize.
The Tigers drew a one-out walk off Rogers in the fourth. The Gators ended the threat by getting two outs on a fielder’s choice; Florida cut down one runner on a force at second, and then threw out the other when she tried to advance to second after a wild throw to first. Kelsey Stewart (Wichita, Kan.) bunted for a two-out single in the bottom of the inning and stole second before advancing on a Missouri throwing error, but she was left at third.
Florida worked around a two-out double to keep the visitors off the scoreboard in the fifth, and the Gators added another run in the frame when singles by Tofft, Haeger and Little loaded the bases for Taylor Schwarz (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.). The sophomore walked to drive in Tofft to make the score 5-4.
The Gators stranded a Missouri runner at second after a one-out single in the sixth. UF had runners at the corners in the seventh following a one-out double by Little and a two-out single by Fuller, but a flyout ended the game.
· Little (2x3, R) extended her hitting streak to nine games, dating back to April 11; the junior is batting .464 (13x28) over that span with 10 runs scored, three doubles, two home runs, 11 RBI and two stolen bases.
· The outfielder posted her fifth multi-hit game of the year; three of those contests have come during the current nine-game run.
· Tofft (2x4, R) recorded her second multi-hit game of the series (two hits Friday).
· The senior now has 13 multi-hit contests on the season, taking sole possession of second place on the team (Stewart – 21).
· The third baseman has six multi-hit games in the last nine contests (since April 11); she is batting .536 (15x28) over that span with 13 runs scored, one double, four home runs, 14 RBI and three stolen bases.
· Fuller (1x3, R) extended her hitting streak to a season-high four games; the sophomore had one hit in each game this week, batting .333 (4x12) with four runs scored, a home run and three RBI.
Head Coach Tim Walton
On Sunday’s game:
“I thought our players competed well. Give a lot of credit to Missouri—I thought they played really well this weekend. They got some good clutch hits. They had a 5-0 lead [on Friday], a 4-0 lead [on Saturday] and a 5-0 lead [today]. We fought back toward the end, but give them credit for jumping out and having a good start to every game.”
On looking ahead to next weekend’s series at Arkansas:
“It’s a big series. Arkansas has a lot of good offensive numbers. They’ve lost a lot of tough games. They’re fighting for their SEC Tournament life and their postseason life. They’ve got a really good offense, and they’ve given us trouble in the past. I think it’s going to be a tough series for us.”
Senior 3B Stephanie Tofft
On the loss:
“Give credit to Missouri—they came out ready to hit. I think we made adjustments at the end of the game. We came back a little bit, but it wasn’t good enough. I think we put up a pretty good fight.”
On the series with the Razorbacks:
“We’re going to take it game-by-game and pitch-by-pitch. We want to take the series to end [the regular season] on a good note.”
FOLLOW THE GATORS
Florida will open its final regular-season series Friday at Arkansas. First pitch is scheduled for 7 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, live stats will be available on the Razorbacks’ Website.