Seven homers lead Gator Softball to doubleheader sweep

AUBURN, Ala. — The No. 10 Gator softball team clinched the series over No. 24 Auburn in a doubleheader Saturday at the Auburn Softball Complex, using 22 runs on 24 hits, including seven homers, to dominate the Tigers, 14-4 and 8-2, in games one and two, respectively. Florida improved to 36-7 overall, 12-6 in the Southeastern Conference as freshman Cheyenne Coyle (West Hills, Calif.) clocked three long balls out of the park, including two in game one, while senior Kelsey Bruder (Corona, Calif.) connected on two shots of her own, one in each game, to propel UF offensively. The Tigers fell to 32-11 on the season, 11-8 in league play. For Coyle, the three bombs elevated her season total to 10, while Bruder tallied her 12th and 13th home runs of the season.

Coyle led UF on the day, going 4-for-5 (.800) with three homers, five RBI and six runs scored, while also drawing three walks. Freshman counterpart Kasey Fagan (Dunnellon, Fla.) went 2-for-3 (.667), including a double, while scoring two runs and drawing a walk.

Senior Megan Bush (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) smashed her 63rd career homer – 19th of the season – in the first of the two games, extending her SEC career home runs record, while also chalking up her seventh sacrifice fly of the season in game two capture the University of Florida single-season sac flies record. Bush and 2010 senior Francesca Enea shared the top spot with six apiece in 2010. Heading into the series with Auburn, Bush led the nation in sac flies this season (6), eclipsing the mark in the third inning of game two to take UF ahead, 2-1.

Also joining the home run club Saturday, senior catcher Tiffany DeFelice (Coral Springs, Fla.) hit a two-RBI shot over the center-field fence in the top of the seventh of game one, contributing to a five run, five hit effort in the final frame with her third home run in 2011.

Senior righty Stephanie Brombacher (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) saw her first action in the circle since March 12, tallying the victory in game two, tossing 4.2 innings, giving up just two runs, one earned, and five hits, while fanning four to improve to 15-0 this season. Freshman mainstay Hannah Rogers (Lake Wales, Fla.) picked up the win in game one, while also tallying her second save of the season in game two after 2.1 innings of hitless, scoreless relief for Brombacher. Rogers worked a complete game one, downing three by strikeout and giving up just two earned runs, four total, to pick up her 21st victory of 2011.

The Orange and Blue used 14 runs on 11 hits in the first game of the doubleheader to dominate AU after being down 4-1 to the Tigers after three innings. The Gators strung together three-run fourth and fifth frames, added two in the sixth and piled it on in the seventh with five runs, while holding the Tigers scoreless through the final four innings of play.

Coyle’s first solo shot evened the score in game one after AU took the early 1-0 lead on a Morgan Estell homer, but when Auburn responded with three runs in the third to go up, 4-1, the Gators swung into gear and never looked back. Coyle added a three-run round-tripper in the fourth, plating junior Ashley Snedeker (Bloomington, Minn.) and DeFelice, Snedeker running for Bush, who reached base on balls, and DeFelice who was also walked.

Bush’s three-run bomb highlighted the fifth inning for the Gators as she drove in Paculba, who reached on a fielding error by the second baseman, and Bruder, who singled through the right side. Coyle started off the sixth for UF with a walk and following a Gator strikeout and pop up that turned over the lineup, junior Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) hit a two-run dart down the right-field line that counted as a triple, but scored Coyle and Moultrie after a Tiger defensive miscue allowed Moultrie to scamper home for the 9-4 UF advantage.

Five runs in the seventh put the game away as Bruder led off with a homer to right center. Bush was the next to reach base on a single to center field, setting up DeFelice’s two RBI long ball that extended UF’s lead, 12-4. Coyle drew yet another walk and Fagan singled to left to set up a two-RBI double for Moultrie that gave the Gators their 14th run of the contest.

A fairly even start to game two ensued as Florida and Auburn traded runs through the first three innings. Auburn was first on the board thanks to a Lauren Guzman double that drove in Kelsey Cartwright, who reached on a fielder’s choice by laying down a bunt. Florida evened the score at the top of the second in form of a Brittany Schutte (Fountain Valley, Calif.) run, driven in by sophomore Kelsey Horton’s (Valrico, Fla.) single to left center, but a Gator strikeout ended the half inning for UF and the Gators proceeded to hold AU scoreless in the bottom half of the second.

The two squads traded runs in the third, as Bush connected on her seventh sacrifice fly of the year to plate Paculba, who drew a walk as UF’s second batter of the inning. Auburn again knotted the score at two-all on a Cartwright single to left field that brought home Caitlin Stangl.

The Gators busted the game open in the fourth, adding four runs on five hits to go ahead for good, started by singles from Coyle and Horton, followed by a Fagan sacrifice bunt that advanced Coyle and Horton to second and third. A Moultrie sacrifice fly scored Coyle, enabling senior Aja Paculba (Wildomar, Calif.) to drive in junior Lauren Heil (Pembroke Pines, Fla.), running for Horton. Up next, Bruder connected on her second bomb of the day, a two-run success to center field that brought home Paculba and herself to end the fourth-inning scoring with Florida ahead, 6-2.

Two runs in the seventh, propelled by Coyle’s leadoff and third round-tripper of the day and followed up by a double-steal that enabled Fagan to score, wrapped up the day for the Orange and Blue, which tallied its 25th and 26th all-time wins over Auburn.

The Gators and Tigers will take to the field for the series finale at 2 p.m. (ET) Sunday.