Florida softball sweeps Arkansas

Special to GC

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - The University of Florida softball team completed regular-season play on Sunday (May 4) with a 5-1 victory to sweep Arkansas. Florida scored four runs in the third inning and one in the sixth, and senior right-hander Hannah Rogers retired the hosts in order in five of the seven innings. Florida won its 21st consecutive game against the Razorbacks overall, and took the 16th consecutive meeting in Fayetteville.

Kelsey Stewart walked to lead off the game, but she was caught stealing. Stephanie Tofft drew a free pass two batters later and then advanced to second on a wild pitch before Arkansas stranded her and retired the Gators. Rogers set down the Razorbacks in order in the bottom of the first.

No. 7 Florida went down 1-2-3 in the second, and Rogers struck out the leadoff batter before inducing two groundouts in the home half. The Orange and Blue (45-10, 15-9 SEC) scored the game's first run in the third when Taylore Fuller beat out a single to shortstop and then came home on an RBI base hit by Stewart. Tofft walked later in the inning to set up a three-run home run by Lauren Haeger, giving Florida a 4-0 lead. Briana Little hit an infield single after the blast to extend her hitting streak to 12 games, but she was stranded.

The Razorbacks (27-28, 5-19 SEC) were retired in order in the bottom of the third. Florida had a leadoff single from Taylor Schwarz in the fourth, but the Gators could not get a runner past second base in the inning. Arkansas got its first hit of the game on a leadoff double, and the home team scored its first run with a two-out single down the right-field line that cut the UF lead to 4-1.

Kirsti Merritt drew a leadoff walk in the fifth and advanced to third on a groundout and a wild pitch before she was caught in a rundown. Haeger walked before pinch-runner Jessica Damico stole second and advanced on a throw, but was stranded at third on a groundout. Rogers (23-8) set down the Razorbacks in order in the home half on two groundouts and a strikeout.

Bailey Castro walked to start the sixth, and Schwarz followed with a single to left. The first-baseman and pinch-runner Justine McLean both moved up on a sacrifice bunt by Fuller. McLean was thrown out a home on a fielder's choice by pinch-hitter Chelsea Herndon before Schwarz scored on Stewart's infield single to raise the Gators lead back to four runs at 5-1. Arkansas hitters grounded out to the second baseman for all three outs in the bottom of the inning.

Tofft singled to left to open the final inning, advancing to second on a wild pitch before Haeger walked. Both runners moved up one base on Little's groundout, but they were stranded to keep the margin at four runs. Arkansas had a walk and a single with one out in the bottom of the seventh, but Tofft started a game-ending double play to secure the 5-1 win.
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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.