Gator softball sweeps Rebels

OXFORD, Miss. — Florida capitalized on 15 walks and used 10 hits to down Ole Miss, 11-3, in the final game of the series in Oxford at the Ole Miss Softball Complex Sunday. Senior Megan Bush (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) and sophomore Kelsey Horton (Valrico, Fla.) were both 2-for-3 and combined for five RBI for the Gators (30-1, 6-0 SEC) on the afternoon. Florida out-scored the Rebels (10-21, 0-6 SEC) 37-6 over the three-day span, clocking four home runs and drawing 29 walks on the weekend.

OThe Gators scattered their runs between five innings, but poured it on in the top of the seventh with six runs and never looked back. Freshman Hannah Rogers (Lake Wales, Fla.) chalked up her 16th victory of the season, tossing the first 5.0 innings for the Orange and Blue, her third start in as many days against the Rebels, yielding just two hits, but giving up Ole Miss’ three runs. Sophomore Ensley Gammel (Bakersfield, Calif.) earned her first save of the season, fifth of her career, with 2.0 innings of scoreless, hitless relief with one strikeout to carry the Gators through the final two innings.

Meanwhile, for the second consecutive outing, UF faced three separate pitchers in the game, primarily Bruning, who started and then re-entered for a combined 4.0 innings. Bruning gave up six hits, eight runs, walked nine and struck out three. Barnhill, however, shouldered the loss for the Rebels (1-8) as the pitcher of record when the Gators went up for good in the fifth inning.

Two runs for the Orange and Blue, one each in the second and third, put the Gators on the board first, thanks to a Cheyenne Coyle (West Hills, Calif.) RBI single that brought home Brittany Schutte (Fountain Valley, Calif.), who reached by drawing a walk. In the third, it was a Bush single up the middle that brought Aja Paculba (Wildomar, Calif.) across home plate after the senior walked to take Florida up, 2-0.

The Rebels countered in the fourth inning with a rally of their own to go up, 3-2, following three runs on two hits. The Gators added two in the top of the fifth for the one-run lead, 4-3, after a Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) walk with bases loaded scored Coyle. With the bags still loaded, a Paculba walk then scored Fagan to spur a pitching change from Barnhill back to the Rebels’ original starter, Bruning, to get Ole Miss out of the inning.

Rogers was able to retire all three Rebel batters in the fifth to bring up the top of the sixth for Florida, which used a Horton single to right field to score Coyle, who reached base on balls as the third batter up in the inning, to give UF the 5-3 advantage. Gammel was able to hold Ole Miss hitless and scoreless through the sixth inning, rallying for a strikeout for the first out, while the Gators turned a double play, thanks to a quick Moultrie who caught a fly out from Overbeck in center, then gunned the ball to Bush at first to tag out the Ole Miss pinch runner, McNeal, who couldn’t scamper back to the bag quick enough.

Florida’s seventh inning rally started with a Gammel single and a Moultrie walk, followed by a double-steal to advance both to third and second, respectively. Following a Paculba fly out, a Bruder two-RBI double to left center brought home Gammel and Moultrie. Schutte followed with a base hit of her own, taking second on the throw, as Bruder scored for the third run of six in the inning. Bush kept the rally going with a single to right center, scoring Schutte, and also spurring the fourth pitching change, third pitcher, of the afternoon when Jayjohn came in to attempt to halt the scoring. Jayjohn was effective in striking out Coyle, but a Fagan dart down the left line followed by a Horton double to left center brought in both Bush and Fagan for UF’s fifth and sixth runs in the seventh, resulting in the final 11-3 margin.

Gammel closed out the seventh with three consecutive groundouts to earn the save for Florida.

The Gators will return home to Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium next Friday, Saturday and Sunday for an SEC Eastern Division match-up with the No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs.