Special report on the Florida Gators softball team:
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – No. 14 LSU evened the series, 1-1, after the fifth-ranked Florida softball team fell 3-0 on Senior Day at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium Saturday afternoon. The program honored seniors Janell Wheaton, Aleshia Ocasio, Nicole DeWitt and Kayli Kvistad prior to the game with flowers, a framed jersey and a ceremony with their families.
In the game, UF (43-8, 16-4 SEC) registered a trio of hits and five walks in the effort, but did not go away quietly. Senior Janell Wheaton started a one-out rally in the final frame of play after she blistered a single back up the heart of the LSU (37-12, 10-9 SEC) defense.
Katie Chronister entered to pinch-run for Wheaton with Jordan Roberts up at the plate. Roberts, who picked up the Gators first hit of the contest in the fifth, followed up with a walk to put runners on first and second. Another substation was made as Haven Sampson entered the game as a pinch-runner for Roberts.
With two outs, Jaimie Hoover loaded the bases with another walk but the rally ended with a fielder’s choice to Amber Serrett at shortstop.
The Tigers jumped out in front first over the Gators with a two-run home run in the fifth. Prior to the home run, Ocasio (16-6) and the Florida defense made a good defensive play to retire the lead runner, Akiya Thymes, at third on a sacrifice bunt attempt by Amber Serrett.
With Serrett at first, Michaela Schlattman broke the scoreless tie with the home run to center field.
Florida broke up the no-hitter in the bottom of the fifth when sophomore Jordan Roberts ripped a line drive over the head of Aliyah Andrews in left field. Right fielder Jaimie Hoover entered to hit out of the flex and roped a single up the middle to put pinch-runner Lily Mann in scoring position.
Hannah Adams made an attempt to break up the shutout bid, but her fly ball to left center hung in the air long enough for Andrews to spoil the scoring threat.
LSU tacked on an insurance run and took a 3-0 lead in the top of the seventh with an RBI single from Schlattman into shallow left field.
Maribeth Gorsuch (7-2) picked up the victory and Allie Walljasper (1) recorded the save in the contest.
The series finale is set for Sunday, April 29, at noon on ESPN2.
On this year’s senior class…
“There’s a lot of pride being able to coach four players like Janell, Nicole, Aleshia and Kayli. They’re hard workers, winners both on and off the field and they understand the value of being a Gator. I think something that is really cool is that they’ve all bought in and really trusted the path that we’ve created for them and the path that they’ve created for themselves. They’ve allowed us to lead them in the right direction and help them get where they want to go.”
· Florida is now 29-33 in the all-time series against LSU and 12-13 when playing at home.
o The team is now 21-6 against Top 25 competition.
o UF is now 10-3 when playing on network television.