Special report on the Florida Gators softball team:
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The University of Florida softball team dispatched in-state foe UCF 9-1 in six innings at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. The Gators tallied four doubles in the effort, which ties the season-high for the third time this year.
Junior Aleshia Ocasio anchored the Gators from the circle to earn her eighth win of the season. Ocasio threw just 60 pitches, struck out five and faced 18 batters en route to the victory.
For the 10th time this season, the Gators (41-3) racked up 10-plus hits against an opponent. The 12 hits in the mercy rule victory over the Knights (23-20) was led by junior Nicole DeWitt’s 3-for-4 performance at the plate.
The scoring opened in the initial inning of play as Florida jumped out to a 4-0 lead over UCF. With runners on the corners, junior Janell Wheaton plated Amanda Lorenz on a fielder’s choice to Brittany Solis at shortstop.
Jaimie Hoover ripped her fourth double of the season to score Kayli Kvistad and Chelsea Herndon scored Wheaton on a SAC fly to left field. Pitcher Aleshia Ocasio concluded the scoring in the first with a hard hit single to Solis at shortstop to score Hoover.
Kvistad kept the momentum moving in a positive direction in the second, when she laced her double of the season to score two more Florida runs in Lorenz and DeWitt.
UCF got on the board in the fourth with a SAC fly to the wall in left field from Courtney Rotton. Megan Greenwell scored on the play after she reached earlier in the inning with a bunt single to Kvistad at first.
The Gators put the game away in the sixth via four hits that included a pair of doubles. DeWitt started the rally with her ninth double of the season. Freshman Jacqui Switzer entered to pinch run with Kvistad at the plate. Kvistad produced her second hit of the game with an RBI single through the right side of the UCF infield to score Switzer.
Wheaton nearly put the game away as she followed up with the team’s fourth double of the game. The shot went off the upper third of the center field wall that allowed pinch runner Katie Chronister to move from first to third.
Herndon put the game away with her two RBI line drive into right field that scored Chronister and Wheaton.
The Gators step back into SEC play this weekend against Ole Miss with the first game set for this Friday at 6 p.m.
On the energy and enthusiasm of the team tonight…
“We’ve got a lot of players doing a lot of things for the first time. So, I just talked to the team about the importance of every game being a confidence game. Don’t get sucked into all of the weaknesses and all of the negatives, just go out there, play well and try to find as many positives as you can. And if you don’t have any positives that day then find the positives in someone else and live off theirs. That’s what we are trying to do – have fun, play the game the right way and play with a lot of energy and passion.” – Tim Walton
From the Players
Overall thoughts on the game…
“We just came out and played our game. We jumped on them early, gave our pitchers some room to work with. I mean Lele (Aleshia Ocasio) did a great job, Delanie came in and did a great job. So I mean it’s just typical Gator Softball. It’s expected of us to do that kind of stuff.” – Nicole DeWitt
On the catch in foul territory behind home plate…
“Once it was hit up in the air, I knew I had a chance at it. The umpire kind of got in my way so that’s when I knew I had to dive. Although, I didn’t realize how much room I had or I would’ve slid the other way. It kind of hurt my neck a little bit, but it was a cool catch.” – Janell Wheaton
· The Gators have now won nine straight contests against UCF and improve their all-time record to 21-4.
o Florida is also 9-0 this season against in-state competition.
· Florida hit a total of four doubles in tonight’s game which ties the season-high for doubles in a game. It’s the third time this season the Gators have hit four doubles in a game.
· A total of eight different Florida players recorded hits in tonight’s game.
o DeWitt tied her career-high for the second time this season with three hits in the game.