Special report on the Florida Gators softball team
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Solid pitching and great defense propelled the No.1-ranked University of Florida softball team to a 6-0 victory over Jacksonville University Wednesday, Feb. 15 at the Debbie and Fred Pruitt Softball Complex.
Florida (6-0) jumped on the scoreboard first after junior Nicole DeWitt battled to a 2-2 count against Dolphins hurler Alyssa Bilodeau. DeWitt nearly painted the left line with a hard hit ball that could have easily cleared the bases but it was quickly ruled a foul ball. However, the very next pitch she bounced back for a two RBI double to left center field that scored Jaimie Hoover and Justine McLean.
Hoover reached earlier in the inning after being hit by a 3-0 pitch and McLean followed up with an infield single to third base.
After making a great defensive play in the bottom of the fourth inning on a line drive, Hoover provided the Gators with their first triple of the season with a line drive down the right field line. However, the Dolphins extinguished the threat and came away the inning unscathed.
McLean followed suit with a great defensive play of her own with a diving catch in left center field to start the bottom of inning against the Dolphins.
The big inning came for the Gators in the top of the sixth as the team went on to plate four runs and extend their lead out to 6-0. A pair of walks to lead off the inning by DeWitt and junior Kayli Kvistad followed by an illegal pitch and wild pitch from the Dolphins pitcher pushed DeWitt across home plate and Kvistad into scoring position for a SAC fly from freshman Jordan Roberts.
With two outs senior Chelsea Herndon reached after being hit by the pitch and single to left center by redshirt freshman Sophia Reynoso gave the Gators another scoring opportunity. In the next at-bat, Hoover recorded an RBI single to the shortstop but the overthrow was ruled as an error that allowed Reynoso to bolt home for the final run of the game.
On the solid overall effort by Gourley and the defense:
“I definitely thought that Delanie did a good job of really again setting the tone – pumping strikes, changing speeds and using her defense but also striking people out. I thought that was a good start for us. Just looking at the way the game shook out, I thought Nicole DeWitt had a really nice at-bat to get a couple of runs in. Then looking at what Jaimie Hoover did tonight; she had a nice day defensively and offensively.”
· Junior Nicole DeWitt is currently riding a four-game hitting streaking after going 1 for 2 with two RBIs and a run score against Jacksonville (Feb. 15, 2017).
· Gourley upped her season scoreless inning streak to 14.0 innings and maintains a 0.00 ERA on the season through two starts and three appearances.
· Roberts recorded her first-career SAC fly in tonight’s contest.
· Florida improved to 19-0 all-time against Jacksonville and a 16-0 record under Tim Walton
Florida now sets its sights on the Aquafina Invitational this Feb. 17-19, at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. It’ll be the first time of the 2017 season that the Gators will play in front of their home crowd. First game is set for Friday, Feb. 17 at 6 p.m. against Northwestern State.