Florida softball defeats Stetson 14-0

Special to GC

GAINESVILLE, Fla. - The University of Florida softball team defeated Stetson 14-0 (6 innings) on Saturday to advance to the championship game of theNCAA Tournament Gainesville Regional. Senior Hannah Rogers tossed a four-hit shutout, allowing one walk and striking out four batters.

Stephanie Tofft got things started for Florida with a one-out single in the top of the first, and the Gators (47-11) loaded the bases on walks to Lauren Haeger and Briana Little. UF plated its first run when Bailey Castro was hit by a pitch to force in Tofft. Stetson (39-13) had a one-out singlein the bottom of the frame, but Aubree Munro caught the runner stealing after a strikeout from Rogers.

The Orange and Blue added another run in the second when Munro reached on a two-base error and then scored two batters later on an RBI groundout by Kelsey Stewart. Stetson had a baserunner in the home half on a UF miscue, but Rogers induced a groundout by the next batter to end the inning.

Castro doubled to left to begin the third, advancing on a sacrifice bunt by Kirsti Merritt before Taylor Schwarz pushed the Gator lead to three withan RBI single to left. A single by Munro set up Kelsey Stewart for a two-run triple to right-center, and Tofft drove in the sophomore on a base hit to left, putting the Gators ahead 6-0.  The Hatters had a one-out single in the bottom of the inning, but the runner was hit by a batted ball on a two-out base hit to end the inning.

Castro drew a one-out walk in the fourth, and pinch-runner Justine McLean got as far as third before she was tagged out trying to score on Schwarz' two-out bunt single. Rogers (24-8) retired Stetson in order in the bottom of the frame.

Taylore Fuller singled through the left side as a pinch-hitter to lead off the fifth, and advanced to third on a sacrifice and a wild pitch, Fuller came home on Stewart's base hit to right, putting the Gators up 7-0. The Hatters drew a leadoff walk, but Rogers stranded the runner in the home half.

McLean reached on a fielder's choice with one out in the sixth, and the freshman scored from first on Merritt's double to left-center to push the lead to eight. Pinch-hitter Chelsea Herndon plated Merritt with a single to right after a walk to Schwarz, and Jessica Damico scored the first basemanon a pinch-hit infield single. A walk to substitute Francesca Martinez loaded the bases for Haeger, who launched a grand slam to right-center that gave the Gators a 14-0 lead.

Rogers allowed a two-out single up the middle in the bottom of the sixth before completing the shutout with a groundout to third base, securing a berth for Florida in Sunday's regional final.
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Andrew Spivey
Andrew always knew he wanted to be involved with sports in some capacity. He began by coaching high school football for six years before deciding to pursue a career in journalism. While coaching, he was a part of two state semifinal teams in the state of Alabama. Given his past coaching experience, he figured covering recruiting would be a perfect fit. He began his career as an intern for Rivals.com, covering University of Florida football recruiting. After interning with Rivals for six months, he joined the Gator Country family as a recruiting analyst. Andrew enjoys spending his free time on the golf course and watching his beloved Atlanta Braves. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewSpiveyGC.