Gator Softball Ends Losing Streak, Downs Auburn
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The No. 6/7 Gator Softball team defeated No. 19 Auburn, 4-2, on Friday (April 4) in the opener of the teams’ three-game series at Katie Seashole Pressly Softball Stadium. SophomoreAubree Munro (Brea, Calif.) continued her hot hitting with two doubles, the second of which broke a 2-2 tie in the sixth inning to provide the final margin. Senior Hannah Rogers (Lake Wales, Fla.) pitched a complete game to run her record to 15-6 on the season. Florida improved to 32-8 (6-7 SEC), while Auburn fell to 31-7-1 (6-4).
Auburn had two baserunners in the first, but Rogers stranded both before the Gators were retired in order. Rogers struck out the side in a 1-2-3 second inning; Florida put two runners on base in the bottom of the frame, but neither was able to advance.
After Rogers registered a perfect third inning, the Gators opened the scoring with an RBI single by Kelsey Stewart (Wichita, Kan.) that scored Munro, who had led off with a double to right-center. Both teams went down in order in the fourth.
The Tigers got a leadoff single to start the fifth, but Rogers retired three straight batters to end the threat. Florida went down in order in the bottom of the inning. Auburn tied the game in the sixth with an RBI double and took a 2-1 lead on a run-scoring single.
Stephanie Tofft (Lincoln, Calif.) singled to left-center with two outs in the bottom of the inning before the Gators evened the score at 2-2 on an RBI base hit by Taylore Fuller (Trenton, Fla.) that plated pinch-runner Jessica Damico (Gray Summit, Mo.). Munro then doubled to drive in Taylor Schwarz (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) and Fuller for the go-ahead runs. Rogers set the Tigers down in order in the seventh to secure the 4-2 victory for the Gators.
· Florida recorded its first Friday win since March 14 at LSU. The Gators had lost their past two SEC series openers.
· Munro doubled for the third consecutive game; her nine doubles on the season lead the team.
· The sophomore is batting .444 (4x9) with one run scored and three RBI since Sunday; all four of her hits in that span are doubles.
· The catcher posted her fourth multi-RBI game of the season, and her first since Feb. 16 vs. Minnesota at the Easton Desert Classic in Las Vegas.
· Munro recorded her fourth multi-hit contest of 2014 and her first since Feb. 22 vs. Troy during the Lipton Invitational.
· Stewart’s third-inning single pushed her reached-base streak to 40 games, extending her program record.
· The infielder extended her hitting streak to eight games; she is batting .357 (10x28) during that span, with three runs scored, two doubles, seven RBI and four stolen bases.
· Rogers allowed three hits, the fewest she has given up in a start since tossing 4.1 no-hit innings against Central Connecticut State on March 18.
· The senior’s six strikeouts were her most since she recorded eight on March 7 against Ole Miss, a span of nine starts.
· The right-hander has walked a total of two batters in her last three home starts, compared to 14 in her last three road starts.
· Kathlyn Medina (Downey, Calif.) made her first start since March 8 vs. Ole Miss, and recorded her first hit since getting two on March 2 vs. Maryland.
Head Coach Tim Walton
On how winning the first game of the series can set the tone for the rest of the weekend:
“It’s good. It’s nice when Hannah is able to come out and open up on a Friday night. We haven’t had a great pitching performance on a Friday night for a ‘W’ yet, so I thought it was nice. It was really good to see her come out and pitch well. We played good defense behind her, and got her enough offense.”
On the key to Munro’s recent offensive outburst:
“That’s four doubles [for her] in the last three games. The main thing is the opportunities—she got an opportunity to play on Sunday, an opportunity to play again on Wednesday, and an opportunity to play today. She can’t control it if she’s not getting very many at-bats to perform. I like to see that when she’s able to get her at-bats, to really get some good swings.”
On how the lineup changes Florida made tonight paid off:
“At the end of the day, the goal is to try to figure out exactly what it’s going to take for our team to make a great run and do the things that we need to do to take this program to great postseason levels. We had to look at ourselves and see if what we had out there was good enough to get us to postseason levels, and what we’re going to have to do moving forward. I’m going to say that we’re going to stay with that [lineup], barring any injuries or things that are out of our control. We’ll stay with that kind of lineup to see what it does, not only for the defense, but for the offense as well.”
Sophomore C Aubree Munro
On realizing that the Auburn center fielder misjudged the ball on her second double:
“I saw her coming in a bit, and I was hoping she wouldn’t get back fast enough.”
On the team’s mindset after the win:
“We are feeling really good. We all talked about how we felt this weekend could be a big weekend. No one feels good losing four in a row. I think coming back in this game set us up for a good series and for a good rest of the season.”
On her big day at the plate:
“It feels good. I’ve been trying to get back to being simple, because that’s what works for me. I’m not a huge home-run hitter, so I think just doing my job and keeping it simple has been really good for me.”
On the two-out rally in the sixth:
“The two-out rally is what we do. It’s been our MO for the last year and a half or so. Stephanie picked us up with that hit off the wall to get that started. Having good at-bats and going deep in counts is what really works for us. We grind, that’s what were good at.”
Senior RHP Hannah Rogers
On what was working tonight:
“I was just feeling really good. Delanie [Gourley] and I and all the rest of the pitchers have been working hard in the bullpen throughout the week. On our off days, we work on hitting good spots and finding what is working for us.”
On getting back in the win column:
“It felt really good. We have been working really hard. Losing is just something to learn from. You just have to take it, deal with it, and get better.”
On what the team learned from those losses:
“Coming together as a team and making plays when we need to, getting hits when we need to and scoring runs when we need to. Little things like that will win you the ballgame.”
FOLLOW THE GATORS
The Auburn series continues Saturday at 5 p.m. ET. The game will be televised on ESPNU, with Pam Ward and Michele Smith on the call. 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 find live stats.
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