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  • Third baseman Taylore Fuller had two big home runs for Florida on Friday/Photo from David Bowie

Florida Gators: Softball takes
down No. 2 Oregon

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Written by Andrew Spivey, February 27, 2015, 0 Comments,
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Special to GC

San Diego - The No. 1-ranked University of Florida softball team picked up two wins on Friday at the San Diego Classic I, defeating No. 2 Oregon in the first game by a 3-0 score and earning a 6-1 victory over Cal Poly in Game 2. Pitching set the tone for the Gators, as a masterful performance from Delanie Gourley and a crisp combined effort from Lauren Haeger and Aleshia Ocasio keyed the doubleheader sweep.



The showdown between the nation's No. 1 and No. 2 teams was a pitchers' duel between southpaws Gourley and Cheridan Hawkins. Florida started the bottom of the third inning with back-to-back doubles by Kathlyn Medina and Kelsey Stewart, and the Gators got on the board when the junior scored on a wild pitch to Haeger.



The Orange and Blue ran their lead to 3-0 in the sixth. Haeger reached on a two-base error to lead off before an RBI single to left by Bailey Castro that plated pinch-runner Jessica Damico. Justine McLean came in to run for Castro, moving up on a sacrifice bunt by Taylore Fuller before scoring on a throwing error by the Duck catcher.



Pitching near her hometown of Lakeside, Calif., Gourley dominated throughout the contest, allowing just five baserunners. The Ducks never had a runner advance past second base as Florida's southpaw gave up only two hits, a fifth-inning double and a sixth-inning single.



The Gators broke a scoreless tie in the third inning of Game 2 when Briana Little led off with a hit-by-pitch and scored three batters later on an RBI single through the right side by Stewart. Florida's momentum continued in the following frame, when one-out singles by Haeger and Castro set up a three-run home run to left by Fuller to raise the lead to 4-0.



The Mustangs had a leadoff walk in the fourth, and produced their first run of the game three batters later on a double down the right-field line. Merritt led off the fifth with a double to center, and Fuller extended the UF advantage to 6-1 with her second home run of the game, a two-run shot to left-center.



Aleshia Ocasio entered in the circle in the fifth, tossing three scoreless innings to save the 6-1 win for Haeger and complete Florida's doubleheader sweep.



STARS OF THE GAME

*         Delanie Gourley: Pitching near her hometown of Lakeside, Calif., the second-year lefty tossed a two-hit shutout against the No. 2 team in the country.

*         Kelsey Stewart: Florida's junior infielder doubled and scored the game-winning run against the Ducks, and then recorded her sixth two-hit game of the season in the win over Cal Poly.

*         Taylore Fuller: The junior from Trenton, Fla., hit her fourth and fifth home runs of the year against Cal Poly. The blasts pulled her into second on the team (Haeger - 6).



NOTABLES

*         Merritt was hit by a pitch in the Oregon game, marking the 12th time the junior has been plunked this season. Her dozen HBPs are more than double the next closest Gators (Castro, Fuller - 5).

*         Little took one for the team in the sixth inning against the Ducks, marking her 33rd career HBP. This sets a career record for Florida.

*         The Oregon game marked the second time this season that Florida's game-winning run has scored on a wild pitch (also: Feb. 7 vs. Michigan).

*         With her three-run home run against Cal Poly, Fuller now has solo, two-run and three-run home runs and a grand slam this season.

*         Fuller's two-home run game was the Gators' second multi-homer contest of the season (Little, 3 vs. Mercer, Feb. 22 - Game 1).

*         The Trenton, Fla., native had five RBI against the Mustangs, marking UF's third five-RBI game this year (last: Little - 9 RBI vs. Mercer, Feb. 22 - Game 1).

*         Stewart's third-inning single against the Mustangs marked her third game-winning RBI of the season, pulling into a tie with Castro for second on the team.

*         Ocasio worked three scoreless innings and earned her second save of the season in Game 2.



WALTON'S WORDS

On Gourley's performance against Oregon:

"She was really good. Having her come home and pitch a game against a ranked opponent - none the less a ranked opponent in the top-five - she really had good stuff today. [She was] pitching to all points of the plate [and her] changeup was good. [The] defense behind her was good. I thought she really did a good job."



On Fuller's two-homer game against Cal Poly:

"She's hot and cold. Just when you think you've got her and she pops one up in her first at-bat, she comes back with a three-run homer. You change up the location - instead of throwing her in or up and in, you go down and away - and she golfs one to straightaway center or left-center. That's a sign of a good hitter, somebody who understands that you're not going to get a hit every at-bat, but takes what they give you."



On tomorrow's games against San Diego and UC Davis:

"I really thought Aleshia Ocasio came in and did a good job in relief of Lauren. Lauren pitched well. One run today against two teams in 14 innings - [I'm] really proud of the way our pitching staff is pitching [and] the way our defense is playing behind them. I really feel confident when we take the field that that's keeping us in every game and giving us an opportunity to win."

- Florida Head Coach Tim Walton



UP NEXT

Florida continues play at the San Diego Classic I on Saturday with matchups against UC Davis (noon ET) and San Diego (5 p.m. ET). WGGG (1230-AM)<http://www.floridasportstalk.fm/> will have the radio broadcast with Corey Brooks (play-by-play) and Megan Bush (analysis) on the call. In addition, live stats links for select games can be found on the schedule page<http://www.gatorzone.com/schedule.php?sport=softb> on GatorZone.com.

Andrew Spivey

About Andrew Spivey

Andrew always knew he wanted to be involved with sports in some capacity. He began by coaching high school football for six years before deciding to pursue a career in journalism. While coaching, he was a part of two state semifinal teams in the state of Alabama. Given his past coaching experience, he figured covering recruiting would be a perfect fit. He began his career as an intern for Rivals.com, covering University of Florida football recruiting. After interning with Rivals for six months, he joined the Gator Country family as a recruiting analyst. Andrew enjoys spending his free time on the golf course and watching his beloved Atlanta Braves. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewSpiveyGC.

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Special to GC

San Diego - The No. 1-ranked University of Florida softball team picked up two wins on Friday at the San Diego Classic I, defeating No. 2 Oregon in the first game by a 3-0 score and earning a 6-1 victory over Cal Poly in Game 2. Pitching set the tone for the Gators, as a masterful performance from Delanie Gourley and a crisp combined effort from Lauren Haeger and Aleshia Ocasio keyed the doubleheader sweep.



The showdown between the nation's No. 1 and No. 2 teams was a pitchers' duel between southpaws Gourley and Cheridan Hawkins. Florida started the bottom of the third inning with back-to-back doubles by Kathlyn Medina and Kelsey Stewart, and the Gators got on the board when the junior scored on a wild pitch to Haeger.



The Orange and Blue ran their lead to 3-0 in the sixth. Haeger reached on a two-base error to lead off before an RBI single to left by Bailey Castro that plated pinch-runner Jessica Damico. Justine McLean came in to run for Castro, moving up on a sacrifice bunt by Taylore Fuller before scoring on a throwing error by the Duck catcher.



Pitching near her hometown of Lakeside, Calif., Gourley dominated throughout the contest, allowing just five baserunners. The Ducks never had a runner advance past second base as Florida's southpaw gave up only two hits, a fifth-inning double and a sixth-inning single.



The Gators broke a scoreless tie in the third inning of Game 2 when Briana Little led off with a hit-by-pitch and scored three batters later on an RBI single through the right side by Stewart. Florida's momentum continued in the following frame, when one-out singles by Haeger and Castro set up a three-run home run to left by Fuller to raise the lead to 4-0.



The Mustangs had a leadoff walk in the fourth, and produced their first run of the game three batters later on a double down the right-field line. Merritt led off the fifth with a double to center, and Fuller extended the UF advantage to 6-1 with her second home run of the game, a two-run shot to left-center.



Aleshia Ocasio entered in the circle in the fifth, tossing three scoreless innings to save the 6-1 win for Haeger and complete Florida's doubleheader sweep.



STARS OF THE GAME

*         Delanie Gourley: Pitching near her hometown of Lakeside, Calif., the second-year lefty tossed a two-hit shutout against the No. 2 team in the country.

*         Kelsey Stewart: Florida's junior infielder doubled and scored the game-winning run against the Ducks, and then recorded her sixth two-hit game of the season in the win over Cal Poly.

*         Taylore Fuller: The junior from Trenton, Fla., hit her fourth and fifth home runs of the year against Cal Poly. The blasts pulled her into second on the team (Haeger - 6).



NOTABLES

*         Merritt was hit by a pitch in the Oregon game, marking the 12th time the junior has been plunked this season. Her dozen HBPs are more than double the next closest Gators (Castro, Fuller - 5).

*         Little took one for the team in the sixth inning against the Ducks, marking her 33rd career HBP. This sets a career record for Florida.

*         The Oregon game marked the second time this season that Florida's game-winning run has scored on a wild pitch (also: Feb. 7 vs. Michigan).

*         With her three-run home run against Cal Poly, Fuller now has solo, two-run and three-run home runs and a grand slam this season.

*         Fuller's two-home run game was the Gators' second multi-homer contest of the season (Little, 3 vs. Mercer, Feb. 22 - Game 1).

*         The Trenton, Fla., native had five RBI against the Mustangs, marking UF's third five-RBI game this year (last: Little - 9 RBI vs. Mercer, Feb. 22 - Game 1).

*         Stewart's third-inning single against the Mustangs marked her third game-winning RBI of the season, pulling into a tie with Castro for second on the team.

*         Ocasio worked three scoreless innings and earned her second save of the season in Game 2.



WALTON'S WORDS

On Gourley's performance against Oregon:

"She was really good. Having her come home and pitch a game against a ranked opponent - none the less a ranked opponent in the top-five - she really had good stuff today. [She was] pitching to all points of the plate [and her] changeup was good. [The] defense behind her was good. I thought she really did a good job."



On Fuller's two-homer game against Cal Poly:

"She's hot and cold. Just when you think you've got her and she pops one up in her first at-bat, she comes back with a three-run homer. You change up the location - instead of throwing her in or up and in, you go down and away - and she golfs one to straightaway center or left-center. That's a sign of a good hitter, somebody who understands that you're not going to get a hit every at-bat, but takes what they give you."



On tomorrow's games against San Diego and UC Davis:

"I really thought Aleshia Ocasio came in and did a good job in relief of Lauren. Lauren pitched well. One run today against two teams in 14 innings - [I'm] really proud of the way our pitching staff is pitching [and] the way our defense is playing behind them. I really feel confident when we take the field that that's keeping us in every game and giving us an opportunity to win."

- Florida Head Coach Tim Walton



UP NEXT

Florida continues play at the San Diego Classic I on Saturday with matchups against UC Davis (noon ET) and San Diego (5 p.m. ET). WGGG (1230-AM)<http://www.floridasportstalk.fm/> will have the radio broadcast with Corey Brooks (play-by-play) and Megan Bush (analysis) on the call. In addition, live stats links for select games can be found on the schedule page<http://www.gatorzone.com/schedule.php?sport=softb> on GatorZone.com.

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