Special to GC
Gainesville, Fla. - The No. 3-ranked University of Florida softball team completed a three-game series sweep of Southeastern Conference rival South Carolina on Saturday with two five-inning wins at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. Florida scored 35 runs in the doubleheader, taking Game 1 by a 19-0 score before closing out the holiday weekend with a 16-3 victory. Freshman Aleshia Ocasio gave up four hits and struck out two batters in a complete-game effort to earn the win in the opener, while sophomore Delanie Gourley yielded three earned runs on two hits with one walk and two strikeouts to pick up her eighth victory of the season in the finale. In Game 1 of the twinbill, Florida's offense broke out for six runs in the second inning. The Gators loaded the bases on walks to Kayli Kvistad and Lauren Haeger and a single by Bailey Castro. Taylore Fuller was hit by a pitch to open the scoring before South Carolina committed a fielding error at the plate and threw a wild pitch, bringing home two more runs. Kelsey Stewart then blooped an RBI single down the left-field line to raise the lead to four. Kirsti Merritt's single through the right side scored Kathlyn Medina, who had reached on a fielder's choice, before Stewart came home on a double-steal to extend the UF advantage to six. Florida loaded the bases in the third on two walks and a hit batter before another base on balls made it 7-0. Stewart then lined a bases-clearing triple into right-center off the Gamecocks pitcher to bring the lead to 10. The Orange and Blue added another run in the inning before scoring eight times in the fourth to produce the final 19-0 margin. South Carolina took a 3-0 lead in the final game of the series with a three-run home run to center field in the first inning. The Gators got one run back in the second when Medina hit an infield single with two outs before coming around to score on Stewart's triple to right-center. Florida erupted for 12 runs in the third. Kvistad singled to right before a one-double from Haeger plated pinch-runner Taylor Schwarz. Haeger moved up one base on Castro's single before scoring to tie the game on wild pitch. The Gators went on to score 10 more times in the inning, sending a total of 16 batters to the plate and pounding out 11 hits. UF added three runs in the fourth on a three-run home run by Haeger, producing the final score in the 16-3 win. STARS OF THE GAMES * Kayli Kvistad: The Lake City, Fla., native hit a grand slam as part of her second multi-hit game of conference play in Game 1 (also: March 21 at Alabama), scoring twice and driving in five runs. * Kelsey Stewart: The 2014 All-American tied her season high with three runs scored in Game 1, reaching base in all four of her plate appearances during the contest. She added four hits (including three for extra bases), a run scored and two RBI in Game 2. * Lauren Haeger: The senior had three extra-base hits on Saturday, including two home runs in Game 2, and also pitched two perfect innings in the second contest. NOTABLES * Florida earned its first series sweep since May 2-4, 2014, at Arkansas. * The Gators swept a three-game set at home for the first time since April 4-6, 2014, against Auburn. * UF set a program record for runs in a three-game series with 45 runs against the Gamecocks. * The 19 runs for the Orange and Blue in Saturday's first game marked their most runs against an SEC opponent since May 8, 2010, when Florida took Game 1 of a doubleheader from the Gamecocks by a 20-0 decision. * The Orange and Blue have had two innings with 10+ runs in their last six games (3/28 at Mississippi State - 11 runs, 1st; Game 2 today - 12 runs, 3rd). * The Gators failed to score in the first inning of either game, but scored in all six of their remaining frames. * Florida scored at least five runs in four separate innings during the two games (Game 1: 2nd, 3rd, 4th; Game 2: 3rd). * UF's 35 runs represented its greatest one-day output of the season (previous: 30 runs, Feb. 22 vs. Mercer). * Stewart's two triples on the day give her 22 for her career, extending the junior's school record. * The infielder had five RBI in Game 1, tying her career high (also: 3/28 at Mississippi State). * The Kansas native had two hits during the opener, marking her team-best 17th multi-hit game of the season. * Kvistad hit a grand slam to center in the fourth, marking her first career bases-loaded home run. * The freshman set a career high with 5 RBI (previous: 4, three times). * Florida now has six grand slams on the season (Fuller - 3; Kvistad, Little, Wheaton - 1 each). * Haeger's two home runs in Game 2 were the 63rd and 64th of her career; the senior now trails former Gator All-American Megan Bush by one on the UF career homers list. * Becca Shipper drew a walk as a pinch-hitter in the fourth during Game 1, reaching base for the first time in her career. WALTON'S WORDS On the Gators' offensive outburst this weekend after a challenging stretch during the past two series: "I said before the game that the struggles are more a credit to the opponents' pitching that we've faced. [The opposing pitchers] did a good job on us. Both today and yesterday, I thought our approach was better and our intent was better, and the result was obviously better. Our hitters had a much more calm approach [and] more compact swings. We didn't do too much." On next week's games against Florida State and Kentucky, both of who are ranked in the top 15 in the national polls: "They're both really good. Both went to the [Women's] College World Series last year. The big key for us is just trying to be who we are. We're going to face some really good pitching and two really good teams. We've got to go in and do what we do. We can't give either of the teams extra outs, and we can't have too many wasted at-bats and wasted opportunities with runners in scoring position." - Florida Head Coach Tim Walton FLORIDA PLAYER QUOTES Senior RHP/1B Lauren Haeger On scoring the most runs in a series in UF history: "It's awesome. We've been working really hard at getting our bats going again. Just line drives [and] ground balls. We worked really, really hard this week on our swings so I'm happy that it paid off." On finding her stroke at the plate: "We had made a lot of adjustments to [my swing] a couple weeks ago. We just went back to the original. I've just been working really hard at going back to normal and just trying to get my groove back [and] be on time. I was just swinging at good pitches." On winning Game 3 of an SEC series for the first time this season: "Of course we wanted to sweep-we always do. We really just wanted to buckle down and get a sweep, get it for the first time [this season]. It feels really good just because we hit well, played good defense and we pitched really well." On her mindset as she closes in on the UF career home run record: "I was just going up there trying to swing at good pitches. Both of those homeruns were line drives, they weren't even bomb shots. I'm really just trying to get my swing back on track before I think about anything like that." UP NEXT Florida will travel to Tallahassee on Wednesday for the first of two meetings in the Share a Little Sunshine Showdown against Florida State. WGGG (1230-AM)<http://www.floridasportstalk.fm/> will have the radio broadcast with Adam Schick and former Gator All-American Megan Bush on the call, and a live stats link can be found on the schedule page<http://www.gatorzone.com/schedule.php?sport=softb> on GatorZone.com.