A total of 2,232 Gator fans, the sixth-largest crowd in school history, watched the No. 2/3 Florida Gator softball team (46-6, 15-5 SEC) knot the series with No. 23 Georgia (35-17, 12-8 SEC) Saturday at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium with a 5-2 victory on Senior Day.
Florida celebrated its two seniors, Ensley Gammel (Bakersfield, Calif.) and Kelsey Horton (Valrico, Fla.), in a pregame ceremony before Saturday’s victory as the Orange and Blue improved to 10-4 (.714) against top-25 competition this season with the series-evening win over the No. 23 Bulldogs.
The rubber game between Florida and Georgia will be Sunday, with first pitch slated for noon from KSPS with Cheri Kempf and Bernie Guenther on the call for CSS.
Working from behind, with a 2-0 deficit after a Tess Sito two-run double in the second, didn’t faze the Gators as sophomore starting righty Lauren Haeger (Peoria, Ariz.) delivered a game-winning three-run jack to left in the fourth to take UF up, 3-2. Gammel finished off the four-run fourth inning with a RBI double for the 4-2 Florida lead after four and the Orange and Blue never looked back.
The Gators added a fifth run in the fifth frame thanks to a junior Stephanie Tofft (Lincoln, Calif.) RBI single up the middle and Haeger worked out of a minor jam in the top of the seventh with runners on second and third, one out. Haeger fanned both Katie Browne and pinch hitter Christine Olney swinging to hold off the Dawgs for the victory.
Florida pounded out seven hits, paced by Haeger and Tofft at the dish Saturday, who both put up 2-for-3 performances, while Gammel and freshmen Kelsey Stewart (Wichita, Kan.) and Taylor Schwarz (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) all connected for base hits on the afternoon, as Stewart continued her team-best 10-game hit streak.
The first-year Gator has reached base in all but three games this season and has had three hit streaks of nine or more games as she inches closer to UF’s freshman record for hits (75) with 72 so far this season. For Haeger, the game-winning RBI in the fourth counted as the eighth game this season she’s knocked in the game-winning runs for the Gators. UF’s come-from-behind was the 16th of the year for Florida, the fifth in SEC play.
Haeger (7.0 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 9 K) tossed a complete game, her ninth of the season, and fanned nine Bulldog batters in the process to improve to 13-2 in the circle for the Gators.
UF faced two Georgia pitchers in Geri Ann Glasco and Morgan Montemayor, each for three innings, with Glasco shouldering the loss (17-7). For the first time since April 7, 2012, the Gators didn’t strike out. Glasco (3.0 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 0 K) gave up UF’s first three hits, including Haeger’s bomb before Montemayor (3.0 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 0 K) came in for three innings of relief.
Gammel and Horton have accumulated a career record of 199-42 (.825) donning the Florida uniform since stepping on campus as Gators in 2010, including a 77-23 (.770) mark in SEC play. The duo has made two Women’s College World Series appearances and helped led Florida to the national runner-up spot in 2011 in Oklahoma City. Horton, a 2013 Senior CLASS Award Finalist and recipient of a $5K scholarship from the SEC as part of the Brad Davis Award for community service, and Gammel have both shined for the Gators on and off the field, in the classroom and in the community, embodying what it means to be both a student and athlete. Both Kelsey and Ensley are team captains this year.
Courtesy of UF Communications