Gator Softball Sweeps Day 2 of Lipton Invitational
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The No. 1 Gator Softball team (16-0) swept a doubleheader for the second consecutive day at the University of Florida Lipton Invitational, winning 12-2 against Troy and 8-0 (5 innings) against Indiana at Katie Seashole Pressly Softball Stadium. Junior Lauren Haeger (Peoria, Ariz.) was one out away from a perfect game for against the Trojans in the opener, while senior Hannah Rogers(Lake Wales, Fla.) tossed a five-inning no-hitter against the Hoosiers.
Florida began the scoring against Troy with two runs in the third inning. Kelsey Stewart (Wichita, Kan.) singled and stole second before a single from Kirsti Merritt (Lake Panasoffkee, Fla.) set up Haeger’s bases-clearing double.
The Orange and Blue added five more runs in the following frame. Singles by Justine McLean (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) and Stewart followed Chelsea Herndon’s (Carrollton, Texas) leadoff double. Herndon scored on Stewart’s base hit before Haeger produced a two-run single to bring home McLean and Stewart. Senior Stephanie Tofft (Lincoln, Calif.) knocked in two more runs with a base hit to right that plated Francesca Martinez (Centreville, Va.), who pinch-ran for Haeger, and Taylor Schwarz (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.), who got on base with a single.
The Gators put up five more runs in the top of the seventh. Pinch-hitter Briana Little (Middleburg, Fla.) drove in McLean, who had set the table with a single as the second batter of the inning. After Haeger reached on an error, a single from Taylore Fuller (Trenton, Fla.) plated Stewart and loaded the bases for Tofft, who drew a walk. A 2-run double by catcher Aubree Munro (Brea, Calif.) brought home Fuller and Haeger to put UF up 12-0.
Haeger retired the first two batters in the bottom of the seventh to pull within one out of perfection, but allowed a bloop single and a home run before finishing the complete-game victory.
In the second game, Tofft walked in the second inning to set up a two-run home run by Little. McLean led off the third with a walk before Stewart singled. McLean came home on an RBI single by Haeger, and Stewart scored on a sacrifice fly by Fuller.
The Gators added four more runs in their final at-bat of the day with an RBI single from Stewart and a three-run pinch-hit homer by Merritt, who put Florida up by eight runs to produce the final margin in support of Rogers, who earned her team-leading sixth win of the season.
· The Gators scored 20 runs on 23 hits in the two games combined.
· Stewart had two multi-hit games today, giving her six on the season to lead the team.
· Haeger (4) and Tofft (3) both drove in multiple runs against Troy; both players now have five multi-RBI games on the year, tied with Stewart for the team lead.
On rotating Delanie Gourley, Haeger and Rogers in the circle:
“The main thing you have to do is make sure you’re giving everybody enough innings to keep them sharp. The rotation has been good. We’re not over-pitching anybody. We’re giving everybody an opportunity to throw complete games, but what Haeger and Hannah and Delanie have been doing is fantastic. They’re really using their defense, and getting strikeouts when they need to. I’m happy with all three of them right now. The pitch-calling has been great too. [Assistant Coach Jennifer Rocha] is doing a good job of keeping them working to their strengths.”
On the offensive productivity:
“The way we were doing it, we weren’t necessarily hitting the ball over the fence or off the wall. We were just going with pitches, putting pitches in play with two strikes, bouncing balls. We got a couple bunts down and hit the ball the other way. When you look at what a team like ours is capable of doing with speed, if we can just stay within ourselves and hit the ball where it’s pitched, we can really do a lot of nice things and create some havoc.”
On looking ahead to Sunday’s games against Coastal Carolina and Georgia Southern:
“When we play Coastal and Georgia Southern, I’ve gotten a chance to see all the looks I wanted to see. Now we’ll try to go out there and get two W’s again tomorrow.
FOLLOW THE GATORS
The Gators will wrap up the Lipton Invitational on Sunday, when they face Coastal Carolina (1 p.m.) and Georgia Southern (approximately 3:15 p.m.) Fans can find live stats via Gametracker on the GatorZone.com schedule page. Radio coverage will be provided by WGGG (1230-AM). Mike Gillespie and former Gator All-American Megan Bush will have the call.
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