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Hannah Rogers set a season-high with 10 strikeouts on Friday night.

Friday May 2, 2014Gators Take Series Opener at Arkansas, 8-3

Fayetteville, Ark.

Hannah Rogers set a season-high with 10 strikeouts on Friday night.

BOX SCORE

 

The seventh-ranked Gator Softball team defeated Arkansas, 8-3 on Friday (May 2) in Game 1 of the teams’ three-game series. Florida (43-10, 13-9 SEC) jumped out to a six-run lead against the Razorbacks (27-26, 5-17 SEC), providing more than enough support for senior Hannah Rogers (22-8), who allowed three runs (one earned) on three hits over seven innings, with three walks and a season-high 10 strikeouts.

 

Kelsey Stewart led off the game with an infield single, then advanced to second on a sacrifice by Kirsti Merritt and scored on a base hit up the middle from Stephanie Tofft. The senior was called out for interference on Lauren Haeger’s fielder’s choice, and a foulout on the next play retired the Gators. Rogers set the Razorbacks down in order in the bottom of the inning, including two strikeouts.  

 

Bailey Castro started the second inning with a home run to left-center to increase the Florida lead to 2-0. Following a popout, Taylore Fuller homered to left-center to give the Orange and Blue another run. Arkansas went down in order again in the home half of the frame, as Rogers fanned the first two batters and got the third out on a popup.

 

Tofft singled to shortstop to begin the third, and Haeger reached on a throwing error by the Arkansas third baseman. Briana Little followed with a three-run home run down the left-field line, extending the Gator lead to 6-0. The Razorbacks had their first baserunners of the game in the bottom of the inning on a fielding error and a hit-by-pitch, and Arkansas scored its first runs of the game on a two-run triple to right-center.

 

Florida took a 6-2 lead into the fourth inning. The Gators drew two walks in the visiting half, but both runners were stranded. Arkansas had two baserunners in the bottom half on a leadoff walk and a two-out error, but Rogers left both on base with a strikeout to end the inning.

 

Taylor Schwarz hit a one-out single in the fifth, and Fuller was hit by a pitch on the next at-bat. Stewart and Merritt brought the runners home with two-out RBI singles to make the score 8-2 in favor of Florida. Arkansas loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the inning, and one run came home on a sacrifice fly. Following a flyout and a single, Castro cut down the runner from second to end the inning and limit the Razorbacks to one run in the fifth.

 

The Gators loaded the bases with one out in the sixth, but were retired on a popout and a strikeout. Rogers set down the home team in order in the bottom of the frame. Tofft was stranded after she drew a two-out walk in the seventh, and the Orange and Blue secured the victory in the bottom of the frame with two strikeouts sandwiched around a flyout.

 

NOTABLES

·         Rogers recorded her 50th career win against SEC opponents. She has a 50-20 (.714) lifetime mark in conference games.

·         The Lake Wales, Fla., native pitched her 100th career complete game.

·         The senior notched double-digit strikeouts for the first time since April 20, 2013, when she struck out 11 batters against Longwood.

·         Rogers recorded 10+ strikeouts in an SEC game for the third time in her career. (Last: April 24, 2011, vs. Alabama). 

·         Castro’s home run was her seventh of the season, setting a career-high (previous: 6, 2012 & 2013).

·         Little’s blast extended her hitting streak to 10 games.

·         The junior’s seven-game hit streak in conference play is tied for the Gators’ longest this season (also: Stewart, Tofft).

·         The outfielder has multiple RBI in five of her last nine appearances; she had just one multi-RBI game in her previous 29 games.

·         The Middleburg, Fla., native recorded her sixth multi-hit game of the year, and her third in SEC play.

·         Fuller’s home run was her 10th of the season; she becomes the fourth Gator to reach double-figures this year (Haeger – 14, Tofft – 10, Merritt – 10).

·         Ten of the sophomore’s 19 hits this season have left the park.

·         Stewart logged her team-best 22nd multi-hit game of the season.

·         Tofft posted multiple hits for the 14th time this year, which ranks second on the squad.

                                                                                                                                                

WALTON’S WORDS

Head Coach Tim Walton

On Rogers’ performance:

“I thought Hannah pitched a good game. She did a good job of making quality pitches. For her to get 10 strikeouts against a good team, that tells you about her stuff. When our hitters gave her a lead, she could pitch more aggressively.”

 

On what the Gators need to do to maintain their momentum on Saturday:

“Try to score early. When we score early, we get aggressive at the plate, and that [approach] is contagious.”

 

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UP NEXT

The Arkansas series continues Saturday, with the middle game of the three-game set slated for a 7:30 p.m. ET first pitch on ESPN and WatchESPN.com, with Adam Amin and Amanda Scarborough on the call. Radio coverage will be provided on WGGG (1230-AM), with Adam Schick and former Gator All-American Megan Bush as the broadcast team. In addition, live stats will be available on the Razorbacks’ Website.

 

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