Special report on the Florida Gators softball team:
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The University of Florida softball program clinched its 10th straight three-game series over the University of South Carolina with a 13-1 decision in five innings during the second game of the three-game series on Saturday, March 18, at Beckham Field. In 2007 & 2008, the Gators and the Gamecocks played doubleheaders during the midweek between conference weekends.
The Gators (25-1, 4-0 SEC) tallied 13 runs on nine hits while Gamecocks (19-9, 1-4 SEC) managed one run on just two hits.
Redshirt-freshman Sophia Reynoso stayed atop the lineup for the second-consecutive game and produced again with a leadoff single to the middle of the South Carolina infield. Back-to-back walks from DeWitt and Lorenz loaded the bases for Kayli Kvistad.
Kvistad produced a pair of RBIs with a single to center field on an off-speed pitch from Gamecocks hurler Jessica Elliott. Junior Aleshia Ocasio kept the momentum of the inning moving forward with two outs and reloaded the bases after being hit by a 1-1 pitch from Elliott.
Chelsea Herndon pushed the Gators lead out to 3-0 with an RBI walk and Justine McLean capped the innings scoring with an RBI single to shallow left field to score Kvistad. Ocasio rounded third and crossed home plate after South Carolina left fielder Kennedy Clark bobbled ball on the hop.
In the top of the fourth inning, the Gators offense gained more momentum. McLean drew a full-count walk to lead off the inning while Reynoso followed up to record her second base hit of the game on a single to left field. The pair moved into scoring position after McLean took a huge lead at second and forced an errant throw back to the back from catcher Jordyn Augustus.
DeWitt cleared the bases to put Florida ahead 8-0 with a three-run home run on a 3-2 pitch from Elliott. It was her second home run of the weekend and fourth of the season after she hit a solo home run in the opening game of the season.
Florida capped off the scoring with another five run spot in the fifth inning of play. DeWitt pushed across her fourth RBI of the game on a bases loaded fielder’s choice to the shortstop and Lorenz tallied her first triple of the season to drive in another two Florida runs.
Kvistad rounded out the frame with the Gators second home run of the day and her third of the season with a two-run blast over the wall in left field.
Kelly Barnhill held the South Carolina bats quiet for 4.2 innings and didn’t allow a hit until V. Williams roped a single up the middle and was eventually brought home on an RBI double to right center by Duffy.
Barnhill earned her 10th win of the season and finished off the game with her ninth strikeout of the day.
The Gators return to action for the series finale Sunday, March 19, at 1 p.m. The game can be viewed live via the SEC Network + on WatchESPN.com or listened locally on WGGG (92.1 FM/1230 AM) & WMOP (100.1 FM/900 AM).
- Kvistad produced her sixth multiple RBI game of the season, which ranks first along with freshmen Jaimie Hoover and Jordan Roberts.
- Kvistad ended the game with four RBIs along with DeWitt.
- DeWitt hit her second home run of the series and is now 3-for-5 (.600) on the weekend against South Carolina with five RBIs and six runs scored.
- Amanda Lorenz extends her hit streak to seven games after today’s 1-for-2 performance at the plate.
- It ties Sophia Reynoso’s seven-game hit streak (Feb. 18-26), which is the longest hit streak of the season by any Gator.
- Five Gators scored at least two runs in the contest. A feat that was last accomplished on April 22, 2016 against Mississippi State.
“I thought the way we came out today and set the tone with our bats, scoring that many runs in the first inning, I thought that was huge. We got Kelly out there with the lead and she really did a good job of commanding her pitches and got a lot of strikeouts. But I think the overall importance for us is to just keep getting out there and playing with confidence – get out there, compete and find a way to score.” – Tim Walton