Special report on the Florida Gators softball team
ORLANDO, Fla. – The No. 1-ranked University of Florida softball team picked up two wins on Saturday at the Diamond 9 Citrus Classic. UF defeated Omaha in the first game by a 9-0 (5 innings) score and earned a 3-1 victory over Elon in Game 2. Pitching set the tone for the Gators, as a masterful performance from Delanie Gourley and a combined effort from Kelly Barnhill and Aleshia Ocasio keyed the doubleheader sweep.
UF earned its first ever win over the Mavs and Phoenix on Saturday.
Gourley (4-0) tossed a one-hit complete-game shut out in the run-rule win over Omaha. In fact, the Lakeside, Calif. native retired the first 12 hitters she faced before UNO’s Lizzie Noble broke up her perfect game bid with a single to begin the fifth inning.
Overall, the junior recorded eight strikeouts and did not walk a batter.
Against Elon, Barnhill (3-0) threw the first four innings and allowed three hits and one walk while striking out four Phoenix hitters without allowing a run. Ocasio relieved Barnhill in the fifth and tossed the final three frames.
Despite giving up one run in the sixth, the sophomore recorded five strikeouts and earned Florida’s first save of the season and the third of her career.
Offensively, Taylore Fuller paced the Gators as she totaled two hits, six RBI and two runs scored on the day. The senior hit her first home run of the season against Omaha in the first inning.
Fuller is one of three Gators who have scored 10 or more runs and recorded 12 or more RBI.
Florida is back in action tomorrow for the third and final day of the Diamond 9 Citrus Classic with a single game against Jacksonville State beginning at 12:15 p.m. The games will be broadcast on WGGG-AM & WMOP-AM/FM.
Florida jumped on Omaha early and never looked back, as junior Delanie Gourleystifled the Mavs all day.
The Gators got on the board in the first inning all with two outs. Freshman Amanda Lorenz recorded a single and senior Taylore Fuller brought her home with her 29thcareer home run.
Janell Wheaton and Nicole DeWitt followed Fuller with a walk and hit by pitch, which set up Kayli Kvistad. The sophomore roped a single driving in her classmate Wheaton.
After a pair of scoreless frames, UF added two runs in the fourth and four in the fifth to bring the Gators to its run-rule lead of 9-0.
Florida added its runs in the fourth on an RBI walk from Fuller and an RBI hit by pitch from Kvistad. In the fifth, UF scored its runs due to smart base running and RBI’s from Fuller and junior Chelsea Herndon, who had a pinch hit single up the middle.
After a scoreless first inning opened the game, Florida took the lead in the second.
Sophomore Kayli Kvistad led off the inning with walk, moved to second on a ground out, third on a wild pitch and then scored on a Taylor Schwarz single up the middle.
UF scored its final two runs of day in the third inning when senior Kirsti Merritt and freshman Amanda Lorenz recorded two-out singles, which placed them each scoring position after Merritt beat the throw from the Elon center fielder on her way to third.
Taylore Fuller continued her excellent day at the plate with a two-run single, which proved to be the game-winning hit.
Elon got one run back in the sixth off Aleshia Ocasio, the first run she had allowed all season, when Elon’s Alaina Hall, who went 3 for 3 in the game, singled with one out and later scored with two outs on an Emily Roper hit to left field.
Florida allowed a season-high seven hits in the game.
NEWS & NOTES
- UF has now outscored its opponents this season, 80-4.
- A season ago, UF had a plus-74 run differential (84-10) through eight games.
- Florida’s senior class is now 183-28 and trying to catch UF’s 2011 class which boasted a 238-33 mark during their four years.
- Tim Walton is now just 15 wins away from his 700th win.
- Florida recorded its fourth double play of the season when UF recorded a (4 (Stewart) – 6 (Voss) – 3 (Schwarz)) DP to end the fifth inning against Elon.
- Schwarz has now turned 60 double plays in her career, which ties her with the school record set by Melissa Zick.
- The Gators are ranked at or near the top in every major pitching category and Florida is by far the best defensive team with its .996 fielding percentage and just one error allowed through its first 10 games.
- Florida now has a streak of 55 innings without committing an error.
- Delanie Gourley tossed the second one-hitter of her season, fourth of her career and the 60th in Florida history.
- Aleshia Ocasio earned Florida’s first save of the season and the third of her career.
- Amanda Lorenz recorded the first stolen base of her career against Omaha.
Head Coach Tim Walton:
“It was good to see Delanie [Gourley] go out there and continue to not only change speeds, but change locations too. Not only was she ahead, but she was constantly pitching aggressively. Offensively, Taylore [Fuller] has been clutch. She’s been finding a way to get RBI’s behind Amanda Lorenz, who just keeps setting that table and hitting the ball well. It was just good to see Taylore get her confidence going and see her put some great at bats together.”