Softball: Weather delays UF vs. UGA

After two rain delays under cloudy and threatening skies in Athens, No. 4 UF softball’s series-opener with No. 9/10 Georgia was halted in the top of the seventh inning, with UGA holding a 3-0 advantage over Florida. The Gators and Bulldogs will finish up the inning Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. prior to first pitch in game two of the series, slated for 2:30 p.m. The Gators will pick up with junior pinch hitter Sam Holle (Tampa, Fla.) on first base with one out.

A crowd of 1,262 came out to Jack Turner Stadium Friday to watch the series-opening Florida-Georgia match-up. Through the six frames, the Gators tallied five hits to the Bulldogs’ three, but stranded seven runners on base.

Through six innings before the final delay, Florida sophomore ace Hannah Rogers (Lake Wales, Fla.) had tossed a three-hitter, allowed two earned runs, walked one Bulldog and fanned four. Likewise, senior Erin Arevalo went the first 6.0 and started the seventh for Georgia. Arevalo had given up five Gator hits, walked one, and retired six Gators by strikeout when the game was halted.

Georgia first struck in the initial stanza after Paige Wilson reached on a Gator defensive miscue and advanced to second on a wild pitch. A sac bunt moved her along to third and with one out, a ground out scored Wilson for the 1-0 UGA lead.

The Gators got the bats swinging in the second as freshman Bailey Castro (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) led off with a base hit to center field, but a junior Kelsey Horton (Valrico, Fla.) fielder’s choice eliminated Castro at second. Next up, junior Ensley Gammel (Bakersfield, Calif.) sent a two-out hopper up the middle for runners on first and second, but an Arevalo strikeout ended the frame.

The Dawgs added a second run in the third on an Ashley Pauly sac fly after Brittney Hubbard knocked a leadoff double to left center, followed by a one-out base hit from Wilson that put runners on the corners for UGA. Next up, Pauly connected for a sacrifice fly to right field, while a fly out ended the stanza with a 2-0 Georgia lead heading to the fourth.

Freshman Katie Medina (Downey, Calif.) got things started for the Orange and Blue in the top of the fifth after an Arevalo hit-by-pitch, while the first year advanced to second after a failed pick-off-attempt at first. Next up, Kasey Fagan (Dunnellon, Fla.) turned over the lineup with a base hit of her own to center field, as sister Sami Fagan (Dunnellon, Fla.) moved her to second on a groundout. Next up, senior Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) reached on a fielder’s choice as Georgia eliminated Medina at the dish. An Arevalo strikeout, her sixth of the tilt, retired the side, stranding two runners on for UF.

In the bottom of the sixth, Wilson helped the Bulldogs add a third run after a leadoff double, UGA’s second of the game, moved to third on a dropped third strike and came around to score on a Pauly fielder’s choice that carried the Bulldogs to the seventh with a 3-0 advantage.

After a short rain delay between the sixth and seventh stanzas, Gammel led off with a fly out before Holle came in to pinch hit for Medina. In the wet conditions, an Arevalo pitch went haywire, sending Holle to first on a hit-by-pitch, spurring the final delay and halted game.

Courtesy UF Communications