Special report on the Florida Gators softball team
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The second-ranked Florida softball team trailed No. 23 Kentucky for five total innings, but rallied in the seventh to win in walk-off fashion, 3-2, at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium Saturday night.
The Gators (21-1, 2-0 SEC) trailed for the longest it has all-season, but took advantage of batting last for the first time this year. Sophia Reynoso led off with a single to right field and advanced into scoring position after Hannah Adams sent a tapper back to the circle for the initial out.
With the heart lineup due up, Florida was poised to take the game. Nicole DeWitt worked a full-count walk with the last pitch going in the dirt allowing Reynoso to advance to third and put runners on the corners.
Amanda Lorenz tied up the game, 2-2, with a hard hit single up the middle and Kayli Kvistad drove in the game-winning run with her walk-off RBI single that scored DeWitt from second base.
Kentucky (15-5, 0-2) opened the scoring and took the lead after manufacturing a run in top of the first inning to go up 1-0. Katie Reed reached after taking a 0-1 pitch off the hands and advanced to scoring position via a SAC bunt from Alex Martens.
Reed eventually scored from an RBI single to center field by Jenny Schaper.
Florida looked to respond in the bottom of the frame as Adams drew a leadoff walk and moved into scoring position on a SAC bunt by DeWitt.
Lorenz singled to the shortstop and Jordan Matthews was hit by the pitch to load the bases, but Kentucky starting pitcher Grace Baalman (7-2) worked out of the jam.
The Gators tied the game 1-1 in the second thanks to a one out double by Aleshia Ocasio that was followed up by an RBI single by Adams with two outs.
The Wildcats regained the lead, 2-1, in the third inning when Martens hit a solo home run to center field.
After that, Ocasio (9-1) settled down in the circle to record eight strikeouts in the final four frames to keep the Wildcats offense from plating any more runs. She finished the game with 10 total strikeouts.
Florida will close out the series against Kentucky tomorrow at noon. The game will be televised on the SEC Network.
On the team being down and coming through when having the last at-bat…
“The important part of that is being put in adverse situations then figuring out what kind of pulse your team has – who is going to respond and who’s not. I thought we saw a really good response from some Gator players tonight. They had that ‘never say die’ mentality and came out with a lot of confidence in the seventh inning.”
On Aleshia Ocasio’s performance in the circle…
“I was with happy with the way she threw the ball tonight. It wasn’t her best week training wise, just with having to limit her practice reps a little bit, but she definitely found her pitch and was able to get in and out of the zone. I’m real proud of her for sure.”
“Shout out to our men’s track and field team on winning their fourth indoor national championship!”
· Going up 2-0 in the series over Kentucky, Florida has now taken their last 13-straight SEC series.
o The last series lost occurred in 2016 against Alabama.
· The Gators trailed for five total innings, which is the longest the team has trailed in a game all season.
o It’s also only the second time the Gators have trailed in regulation.
· Tonight was the first walk-off win of the season for Florida.
o It’s also the first time this season that the Gators have had the last at-bat.
· Amanda Lorenz extended her reached base streak to 22 games after going 3-for-4 at the plate tonight.
o Lorenz reached base safely in all but two games in 2017.
· Aleshia Ocasio struck out the side in the fifth inning and seventh.
o She has now struck out the side six times this season.
· Ocasio tallied a season-high 10 strikeouts against the Wildcats.
o It’s the first time this season she has recorded 10 or more strikeouts in a game.
§ It’s the eighth time this season that Florida has produced 10 or more strikeouts.
· Florida improved to 4-0 on the season when playing on network television.
o The team improved to 6-1 on the season against teams ranked inside the Top 25.