Bulldogs were no match for Gators over the weekend. After a big upset by South Florida on Wednesday, the No. 4 Florida softball team rebounded against No. 9 Georgia to bring home two more wins to improve to 31-4 overall and 12-2 in conference play.
Game 1 – Georgia 3, Florida 2
It was a rainy start to the weekend’s series on Friday. The Bulldogs held a comfortable 3-0 lead into the top of the seventh before the game was delayed to the next day due to inclement weather. Before the delay, the Gators struggled to plate runners until the top of the seventh inning when the spark of a short rally gave hope for a win.
The Gators debuted in the batter’s box and went down in order. With sophomore ace Hannah Rogers on the mound, it was the Bulldogs’ turn and they showed up early by scoring a run in the bottom of the first.
After a scoreless second inning, Georgia put another run on the board with an Ashley Pauly sacrifice fly.
Scoreless third and fourth innings brought up the fifth where the Gators had two in scoring position. Freshman Katie Medina started it off for Florida by jogging to first on a hit by pitch and stealing second on an overthrown ball. Sophomore Kasey Fagan singled to center field to move Medina to third and bring up her sister, freshman Sami Fagan. Sami hit the ball to third, but was thrown out at first. Senior Michelle Moultrie reached first on a fielder’s choice that got Medina out running to home. A strikeout by freshman Lauren Haeger ended the top of the fifth.
After the Bulldogs went down in order in the bottom of the fifth, the Gators followed behind with a quick top-of-the-sixth. In the bottom, the Bulldogs came out and widened their lead with one more run, their last of the game.
Before the rain hit in the top of the seventh, the Gators managed to get freshman Samantha Holle, pinch hitting for Medina, on base from a hit by pitch.
On Saturday, the Gators returned to the batter’s box to complete the last inning of game one. With Medina on first, Kasey Fagan smacked a two-run homer to narrow the gap to 3-2. The Florida rally fell short when Georgia delivered two more strikeouts to end the game. Rogers collected only her second loss of the season.
Game 2 – Florida 4, Georgia 2
The Gators carried their momentum from the end of the first game into game two of the series where they secured a 4-2 win.
The Gators went down in order for the first two innings when Georgia sophomore pitcher Morgan Montemayor started off the game with five strikeouts. Sophomore Cheyenne Coyle hit the only ball in play, but it was snagged in the air.
Georgia scored a run in the second with a homer to right field, but Florida answered in the third when Kasey Fagan sent junior Ensley Gammel home.
Florida’s sophomore pitcher Hannah Rogers started both of Saturday’s games, but was replaced by Haeger in the bottom of the third. UGA’s Kristyn Sandberg led off with a homer to give her team a 2-1 lead. Haeger came back with two groundouts and a strikeout to end the inning.
In the top of the fourth, the Gators tied up the game after Coyle knocked out her eighth homer of the season. A double play and Haeger strikeout retired the fourth inning.
The Gators came out and delivered their final two runs of the game in the top of the fifth. Florida’s third run was thanks to two Georgia defensive errors that plated Moultrie. The fourth run came from a freshman Bailey Castro RBI that brought in Sami Fagan.
The last two innings were scoreless and the Gators picked up their first win of the series to tie it up with the Bulldogs.
Game 3 – Florida 6 Georgia 3
In the final game of the series, Georgia was the first to score in the second inning after a Gators’ defensive error and a RBI double.
A scoreless third inning brought up the fourth where the Gators really shined. Down 2-0, Coyle and Haeger hit back-to-back homers to tie up the game. With two outs on the board, Gammel joined the party and hit a bomb of her own to take the lead.
The Gators continued to widen the gap in the top of the fifth when Moultrie scored after a leadoff walk. UGA came out strong in the bottom with bases loaded and no outs. The Bulldogs had an unearned run after a fielder’s choice and narrowed the score to 4-3. The Gators’ defense hustled to get the last two outs with another fielder’s choice and fly out.
Florida used the sixth inning to cushion their lead. With two outs, Kasey Fagan got on base after an infield single. Georgia intentionally walked Moultrie to bring up Sami Fagan who whacked a two-run RBI double to plate sister Kasey Fagan and Moultrie. The Gators led the Bulldogs 6-3.
No runs were scored in the seventh and the Gators collected their fourth SEC series win.
The Gators will travel to Tallahassee to play Florida rival FSU at 6 p.m. on Wednesday. Softball fans can watch the game on Fox Sports Florida.
Gator Country reporter Darby Underwood can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow her on Twitter @DarbyUnderwood.