Special report on the Florida Gators softball team:
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Behind a two-hit shutout thrown by junior Aleshia Ocasio (5-0), the No. 2-ranked University of Florida softball team downed USF 8-0 Wednesday, March 22, at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. Today’s afternoon matchup was the second contest between the two squads this season.
The Gators (27-1, 5-0 SEC) recorded their 19th shutout of the season behind solid pitching and a hardworking defense. The offense continued to roll as the team also recorded its third-straight and 11th run-rule victory of the year.
In the bottom of the second inning of play, Florida freshman Jordan Roberts broke the scoreless game open on an RBI groundout to USF shortstop Lauren Evans. Fellow freshman Jaimie Hoover set up the RBI opportunity with a one-out triple deep to center field.
Hoover produced her team-leading 33rd RBI of the season in the third inning after she drew a four-pitch bases loaded walk that opened the Gators lead to 2-0.
In the following at-bat, Roberts belted her first career grand slam as she sent a 1-0 pitch from USF reliever Cheyenne Eggens over the right field wall to put UF up 6-0. Roberts finished the night with a career-high five RBIs on the night and became the fifth different Gator to record five or more RBIs in a game this season.
Florida tagged on a run in the fourth and the fifth innings to complete the evening’s scoring efforts. Janell Wheaton smacked an RBI single up the middle to score Nicole DeWitt to push the lead out to 7-0 and Kayli Kvistad drew the second bases loaded walk of the game to score Sophia Reynoso to end the game in the fifth 8-0.
Ocasio fanned four batters while not allowing a walk on 57 pitchers for her second complete-game performance of the season. She also went 1-for-2 at the plate with a walk drawn.
· Roberts recorded her first career grand slam and a career-high five RBIs in the effort against USF. It was her fourth home run of the season, which is tied for the team lead.
o Also the fifth different Gator to record five-plus RBIs in a game this season.
· Ocasio extended her scoreless inning streak in the circle to 27.0 innings pitched.
o She allowed zero walks in the complete-game performance and has only issued three walks on the season. This mark ranks her third in the country in walks allowed per seven innings.
· Amanda Lorenz and Justine McLean recorded their 10th and eighth multiple hit game of the season respectively. Lorenz finished 2-for-2 with a pair of walks while McLean went 2-for-3 at the plate.
· Lorenz (28), Kvistad (28) and Reynoso (26) each extended their reached base streaks in this afternoons contest against the Bulls.
· Jaimie Hoover recorded her third triple of the season and second in as many games and now leads the team in the category.
On Ocasio settling into a groove in the circle…
“She came in and threw the last inning of the game on Sunday and had a nice change of speeds, good command of her pitches and she showed that again today. She’s commanding four or five different pitches and I just really like the way she has been able to come out and not necessarily set a tone but everybody is ready to play behind her because she likes to pitch quick and she likes to get it going.” – Tim Walton
The Gators will continue their home stand at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium with a three-game Southeastern Conference series against No. 4/6 Auburn. The series will start Saturday, March 25 at 6 p.m. (ESPN 2) and continues Sunday at 7 p.m. (ESPN 2) and Monday at 7 p.m. (SEC Network).