Report on the Florida Gators softball team:
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The No. 1-ranked Florida (49-4) softball team has swept its season series with No. 5-ranked Florida State (42-7) with a pair of wins on Wednesday at JoAnne Graf Field. The Gators downed the Seminoles in today’s regularly scheduled contest, 7-1, and defeated FSU, 1-0 (12 innings), in these two teams halted game back on April 13 in Gainesville.
In the second game for UF, sophomore Aleshia Ocasio hit a walk-off solo home run in the bottom of the 12th inning to lift the Gators to victory. It was the second home run of her career and first since Feb. 22, 2015 against Mercer.
In addition, Ocasio got the win in the circle during that contest as well.
Florida’s game one win went down as a road win, while the nightcap enters Florida’s record book as a home win on its original start date of April 13.
UF has now won 16 of its last 17 contests against FSU. In addition, the Gators are now 4-2 against the Seminoles in extra-inning games.
Overall, Florida will finish the regular season unbeaten in 32 non-conference games and has won 123 of 125 non-league games dating to the start of 2013. The Orange and Blue are also 31-1 against in-state opponents since the start of 2014.
Florida will also finish the regular season 21-4 against Top 25-ranked teams.
Game 1 Recap (May 4 Regularly Scheduled Game)
Florida broke the scoreless tie between these two teams in the top of the third inning when the Gators scored three runs on four hits and one FSU miscue.
Senior Kelsey Stewart got things going in the third with a leadoff single. After she stole second and moved to third on an error by the FSU catcher, Florida’s senior speedster scored on a Kayli Kvistad single up the middle.
Later in the inning after sophomore Nicole DeWitt singled to put runners on first and second, sophomore Janell Wheaton hit a bases-clearing double down the right-field line to give Florida the early 3-0 advantage.
In the top of the fourth, senior Taylore Fuller hit a solo home run to left to extend the Florida lead to 4-0.
UF scored its final three runs on a pair of RBI doubles by DeWitt and senior Aubree Munro in the top of the seventh inning.
FSU scored its lone run of the game in the bottom of the seventh when Zoe Casas launched her fourth home run of the season over the right-field fence.
In the circle for the Gators, junior Delanie Gourley (17-3) allowed just two hits, two walks and one run, while she recorded 10 strikeouts in the complete-game effort.
An FSU record 1,712 fans come out to JoAnne Graf Field for Wednesday’s game.
Game 2 Recap (April 13 Halted Game)
Play resumed on Wednesday night in the bottom of the ninth inning with runners on second and third, one out and Aubree Munro at the plate.
After Florida’s senior catcher was intentionally walked, FSU’s Jessica Burroughs recorded back-to-back strikeouts to get out of the inning
The game remained in a scoreless tie until the bottom of the 12th when sophomore Aleshia Ocasio hit a walk-off solo home run to right.
Prior to the 12th, Florida had its best chance to score in the sixth when UF loaded the bases with a pair of walks and a single, but was unable to score.
Meanwhile, FSU had runners on first and second base in the first and third innings, but the Seminoles were unable to capitalize in either situation and were unable to generate any offense.
Nicole DeWitt was the first runner in the game to reach third base, and she did so in the ninth inning before the game was suspended.
In the circle for the Gators, junior Delanie Gourley started and threw the first three innings while recording four strikeouts and allowing just three hits. Rookie Kelly Barnhill followed with the left-hander with a pair of scoreless and six strikeouts.
Ocasio (14-1) captured the win as she tossed seven scoreless inning and recorded six strikeouts while allowing just one walk and one hit.
With tonight’s pair of wins, Florida is now 49-4 and holds the highest win percentage (.925) in the country.
Florida’s 12 inning contest was the Gators longest game since UF played Nebraska in 15-inning affair at the 2013 Women’s College World Series.
Florida is unbeaten in 32 non-conference games and has won 123 of 125 non-league games dating to the start of 2013.
In addition, the Orange and Blue are now 31-1 against in-state opponents since the start of 2014.
Florida’s senior class is now 222-32, which currently ranks fourth among four-year class records in program history.
Sitting third on this list is UF’s 2010 graduating class that went 225-42 throughout its four seasons.
Taylore Fuller, Kirsti Merritt, Aubree Munro, Taylor Schwarz and Kelsey Stewart are trying to catch UF’s 2011 class which boasted a 238-33 mark during their four years.
Tim Walton earned his 600th win at Florida with the victory in game one.
Walton earned his 700th career win on March 12 at Auburn.
Florida is now 21-4 against Top 25-ranked teams.
FSU is the sixth non-conference team ranked in the top 25 that the Gators have played this season.
Florida defeated Michigan, UCLA, Washington, Louisiana-Lafayette and USF earlier this season.
UF has now outscored its opponents this season, 328-60.
In 2015, UF had a plus-245 run differential (367-96) through 53 games.
In 2014, UF had a plus-196 run differential (354-114) through 53 games.
Florida’s 60 runs allowed through 53 games is the second fewest in school history through this point in any season.
UF’s 2009 squad allowed 40 tallies through 53 contests and Florida’s last two NCAA Championship teams had allowed more than 95 runs each, respectively.
The Gators have made just 25 errors this season and currently sport one of the best fielding percentages (.982) and earned run averages in the nation (0.94). For comparison, Florida had committed 28 errors through 53 contests last season and had a fielding percentage of .980. UF went on to record a .981 fielding percentage and commit just 33 errors, which are both school records.
Florida’s astounding 0.94 team ERA (350.2 IP) would go down as tied for the third-best ERA for a single season in program history if the season ended today.
Top ERA Season’s in UF History:
2008 – 0.92 ERA (512.0 IP)
2009 – 0.69 ERA (444.0 IP)
Florida’s miniscule .159 batting average against (350.2 IP) would go down as the best b/avg. for a single season in program history if the season ended today.
Top B/Avg. Season’s in UF History:
2008 – 0.176 b/avg. (512.0 IP)
2009 – 0.161 b/avg. (444.0 IP)
Florida double plays total is up to 25 after Wednesday pair of games were completed.
UF had turned just 15 double plays through 53 contests a season ago. In addition, Florida’s 2016 squad is just four double plays away its program record 28 that it turned during the 2014 season.
Taylor Schwarz was on the receiving end of one of Florida’s double plays, extending her school record to 65.
Aleshia Ocasio (18-1), Kelly Barnhill (14-0) and Delanie Gourley (17-3) are looking to become the first trio in school history to all record at least 15 wins in a season.
Gourley (186), Barnhill (147) and Ocasio (122) are the second trio in school history to all record 100+ strikeouts in a season. They are trying to become the first trio in school history to all record 125+ strikeouts in a season.
UF is the only school in the nation with 3 different pitchers with at least 100 strikeouts this season.
Florida’s trio of pitchers are looking to become the second group to all throw at least 100 innings in a single season.
UF’s 2002 group of Amanda Moore (174.2 IP), Amanda Knowles (113.2) and Mandy Schuerman (105.0 IP) last achieved this feat.
Innings pitched totals = Delanie Gourley – 131.2, Aleshia Ocasio – 123.0, Kelly Barnhill – 96.0
Ocasio (136.0, 2015) and Gourley (107.2, 2014) have each achieved this feat once before in their careers.
Florida’s pitching trio has combined to allow just 60 runs, while they have totaled 455 strikeouts. Both of those numbers lead the SEC.
Only two teams in Florida history have ever allowed less than 100 runs in a single season. UF’s 2009 squad allowed just 67 runs and its 2008 team allowed 94 tallies.
Florida’s 455 strikeouts currently ranks tied for fourth all-time in program history for strikeouts in a single season.
Ocasio’s astounding 0.74 ERA (123.0 IP) would go down as the second-best ERA for a single season in Florida history if the season ended today.
Stacey Nelson currently holds the top two single season ERAs in program history, as she recorded a 0.61 ERA (285.1 IP) in 2009 and 0.75 (352.2 IP) in 2008.
Gourley’s astounding 0.80 ERA (131.2 IP) would go down as the third-best ERA for a single season in Florida history if the season ended today. In addition, Gourley’s opponent’s batting average against her is an astounding .144 (131.2 IP), which would be the best in school history as well.
Stacey Nelson currently holds the top two single season ERAs in program history, as she recorded a 0.61 ERA (285.1 IP) in 2009 and 0.75 (352.2 IP) in 20
Jenny Gladding currently holds the top single season opponent batting average against in program history, as she recorded a .146 b/avg. in 2004.
Kelsey Stewart – eight games (season long)
Amanda Lorenz – five games (four shy of season long)
Nicole DeWitt – five games (one shy of season long)
Amanda Lorenz recorded her team-leading 12th double of the season in the top of the first inning.
Janell Wheaton registered her fourth double of the season and second in the last four games with her two-run two-bagger in the third inning.
Taylore Fuller hit her seventh home run of the season and her 35th of her career in the fourth inning.
Nicole DeWitt recorded her fifth double of the season in the top of the seventh inning.
Aubree Munro hit her sixth double of the season in the seventh inning.
After scoring one run on Wednesday, Kelsey Stewart is now just two runs shy of Aja Paculba’s school record 253.
Kayli Kvistad and Amanda Lorenz are challenging for the top on-base percentage in school history, as they each have recorded an OBP of .522 and .520 thus far this season.
Bailey Castro set the program record a season ago when she reached base at a .536 clip.
Amanda Lorenz, who’s currently hitting .396, is on pace to record the highest batting average for a freshman in school history. In addition, she could become the first rookie in program history to have an on-base percentage over .500.
Kelsey Stewart holds the batting title as she hit .378 during her freshman season in 2013.
Other freshman ranks that Lorenz is climbing into:
Runs Scored – 6th (50)
Hits – T-6th (60)
Doubles – T-3rd (12)
Walks – 3rd (41)
Head Coach Tim Walton:
On both games overall…
“The first seven innings today was probably as well as we’ve hit the ball all year long. We really hit the ball well to all fields. And then we start game two and we reverted back to game one style again. Obviously, a lot of that has to do with Jessica Burroughs. She threw a really good game and she really threw a great game over the last three-plus weeks. Overall, I thought our at bats were just OK during that second game, but Aleshia (Ocasio) really delivered for us.”
On Aleshia Ocasio…
“I was really proud of Aleshia (Ocasio) on how she was able to deliver in that situation. She hit a really good ball against Jessica Burroughs back in Gainesville that almost got over the fence, and for her to deliver in a big way tonight says a lot for her. I think she’s been working really hard.”
Sophomore Aleshia Ocasio:
On her walk-off home run and her performance overall…
“It was a really good feeling being on both sides of that win. I was thrilled to be able to help my team out both offensively and defensively. I was shocked that that ball went out. I was running hard out of the box because I wasn’t sure if it would get out of the park, but I’m glad it did. It was a great team win.”
Florida leads the all-time series, 23-14; this includes an 11-7 advantage at home and a 12-7 mark in Tallahassee.
Since Tim Walton became Florida’s head coach before the 2006 season, the Orange and Blue are 17-3 vs. the Garnet and Gold.
The Gators have now won 16 of the last 17 games against the Seminoles.