Report on the Florida Gators softball team:
COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The No. 1-ranked University of Florida softball team (46-3/16-3 SEC) defeated No. 18 Texas A&M (34-14/6-13 SEC), 14-3 (six innings), in the opener of the teams’ three-game Southeastern Conference series on Friday at the Aggie Softball Complex. Eight different players recorded an RBI for the Gators and Delanie Gourley (16-2) earned the win as she recorded seven strikeouts and allowed three runs (two earned) on four hits in four innings pitched.
After Florida failed to score with the bases loaded in the first inning, UF didn’t make that mistake in the second.
With runners at the corners and no one out, junior Justine McLean used her speed to put pressure on Texas A&M’s defense to help Florida score the game’s opening run. As McLean stole second base, a throwing error by the Aggies catcher allowed sophomore Janell Wheaton, who was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, to score and give the Gators an early 1-0 lead.
In the third, a two-run double by Wheaton and an RBI single by senior Taylore Fuller plated three runs to extend UF’s lead over Texas A&M to 4-0.
Undaunted, TAMU answered with three runs over the next two innings.
In the fourth, the Aggies recorded three hits and took advantage of a Florida miscue to score a pair of runs. During the inning, Texas A&M’s Tori Vidales and Kristen Cuyos recorded the RBI singles.
One inning later, Samanatha Show recorded her ninth home run of the season to pull the Aggies within one run (4-3), but that was as close as the Aggies would get.
The pair of runs in the third snapped a 22.2 scoreless innings streak by Florida’s junior left-hander. In addition, Florida’s fourth-inning error ended a streak of 28 consecutive innings without a defensive miscue.
Following the homer, Gourley was relieved by sophomore Aleshia Ocasio who worked two scoreless innings to earn sixth save of the season, which is a new single-season program record. During her three innings of work, Ocasio recorded two strikeouts and allowed just one hit.
Florida scored 10 runs in the sixth inning, its highest scoring output a single inning this season, to bring the game to its final score, 14-3.
That sixth inning outburst was highlighted by Ocasio’s first-career double and an Amanda Lorenz grand slam. The bomb was Florida’s second grand slam of the season and first of her career.
With tonight’s win, Florida is now 46-3 and still holds the highest win percentage (.939) in the country.
Florida, who’s currently in first place in the SEC standings, hold a 16-3 mark in conference play for the first time since 2012 when the Gators were 17-2 through 19 league games.
Florida’s senior class is now 219-31, which currently ranks fifth among four-year class records in program history.
Sitting fourth on this list is UF’s 2015 graduating class that went 221-41 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 is now just two wins away from his 600th win at Florida.
Walton earned his 700th career win on March 12 at Auburn.
Friday’s game was broadcast on SEC Network+. Florida is now 25-2 in contests that are streamed online.
Florida is now 18-3 this season against ranked opponents.
UF has now outscored its opponents this season, 309-50.
In 2015, UF had a plus-259 run differential (349-90) through 49 games.
In 2014, UF had a plus-237 run differential (342-105) through 49 games.
Florida’s 50 runs allowed through 49 games is the second fewest in school history through this point in any season.
UF’s 2009 squad allowed 40 tallies through 49 contests and Florida’s last two NCAA Championship teams had allowed 90 runs each, respectively.
The Gators have made just 21 errors this season and currently sport one of the best fielding percentages (.984) and earned run averages in the nation (0.88). For comparison, Florida had committed 27 errors through 49 contests last season and had a fielding percentage of .978. UF went on to record a .981 fielding percentage and commit just 33 errors, which are both school records.
Florida’s astounding 0.88 team ERA (318.2 IP) would go down as the second-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 .158 batting average against (318.2 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)
UF did not allow a stolen base on Friday, remaining the only team in the SEC who has yet to allow more than three stolen bases in 2016.
In addition, three stolen bases is the fewest Florida has allowed in school history through 49 games.
Florida’s opponents have only attempted to steal nine bases against Aubree Munro and Florida’s catchers this season. That mark would shatter Florida’s school record of 25 attempts that was set in 2015.
In addition, UF’s stolen-base-against percentage of 33% (3-9) this season would be the lowest in school history if the season ended today. Florida’s 2003 team currently holds that mark as they allowed just 51.7% (31-60) of runners to steal a base safely.
Florida recorded its 22nd double play of the season in the fifth inning.
UF had turned just 14 double plays through 49 contests a season ago. In addition, Florida’s 2016 squad is just six double plays away its program record 28 that it turned during the 2014 season.
Taylor Schwarz was involved in the double play, extending her UF record to 64 double plays turned in her career.
Aleshia Ocasio (16-1), Kelly Barnhill (14-0) and Delanie Gourley (16-2) are looking to become the first trio in school history to all record at least 15 wins in a season.
Gourley (164), Barnhill (137) and Ocasio (112) 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 – 117.2, Aleshia Ocasio – 109.0, , Kelly Barnhill – 92.0
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 50 runs, while they have totaled 413 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 404 strikeouts currently ranks ninth all-time in program history for strikeouts in a single season.
Ocasio (0.64) and Gourley (0.77) have the No. 1 and No. 4 ERAs in the country and Barnhill is fourth in strikeouts per game (10.4).
After Ocasio earned her sixth save of the season, Florida’s pitching staff has now recorded 12 saves season. That is the top mark for a single season in Florida history.
Ocasio now holds the Florida single season record.
Ocasio’s astounding 0.64 ERA (109.0 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 0.77 ERA (117.2 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 .138 (117.2 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 – five games (two shy of season long)
Florida scored 10 runs in an inning for the first time since April 4, 2015 against South Carolina.
After scoring one run on Wednesday night, Kelsey Stewart is now just five runs shy of Aja Paculba’s school record 253. In addition, Kelsey Stewart is now tied with Lauren Haeger for the program record with 494 total bases.
Kvistad and Amanda Lorenz are challenging for the top on-base percentage in school history, as they each have recorded an OBP of .531 and .511 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 .390, 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 – 7th (46)
Hits – T-9th (55)
Doubles – T-7th (10)
Walks – 6th (36)
Head Coach Tim Walton:
“Getting the fourth run of the game was huge and being able to throw up 10 runs in the sixth was great as well. I was really working hard over to scratch and claw to get us some more runs. I didn’t think four was enough, as Texas A&M has a great offense. Both of our pitchers did a great job too. Aleshia (Ocasio) came in and changed the momentum of the game during that fifth inning.”
Florida leads the all-time series with Texas A&M, 11-3; this includes a 5-2 mark in College Station, Texas.
After going 2-3 in its first five meetings with the Aggies, UF has won nine-straight games against TAMU.