Special to GC
The No. 5/7 Gator Softball team earned a mercy-rule victory over No. 21/22 Texas A&M on Saturday (April 19), as the Orange and Blue (39-8, 10-7 SEC) defeated the Aggies (29-16, 9-11 SEC) 17-4 (5 innings) at the Aggie Softball Complex. Four Florida hitters recorded multiple RBI in the game in support of Delanie Gourley(Lakeside, Calif.), who ran her record to 13-1 on the season after she allowed three earned runs on five hits over four innings, with two walks and four strikeouts.
Florida got on the board in the first with a two-run home run from Kirsti Merritt (Lake Panasoffkee, Fla.) who took Aggie starter Katie Marks out to center following a leadoff single by Kelsey Stewart (Wichita, Kan.). Gourley allowed a one-out walk and a two-out single in the bottom of the frame, but stranded both runners.
The Gator offense erupted for 11 runs in the second inning. Briana Little (Middleburg, Fla.) led off the frame with a double to left and Taylor Schwarz (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) was hit by a pitch to set up a three-run home run to left-center by Taylore Fuller (Trenton, Fla.). Kathlyn Medina (Downey, Calif.) followed with an infield single and Stewart reached on a bunt before Stephanie Tofft (Lincoln, Calif.) brought them both home with a double to right-center. The senior later scored on a fielding error by Texas A&M’s second baseman. An RBI single from Schwarz and a hit-by-pitch from Castro loaded the bases for Medina, who blasted a grand slam to left-center to make the score 13-0. Gourley set the Aggies down in order in the bottom of the second.
Both teams went scoreless in the third before Florida added four more runs in the fourth. The inning began with a Medina double. Merritt reached on a fielder’s choice two batters later to set the stage for Stephanie Tofft(Lincoln, Calif.), who hit a three-run home run to right field. After a pitching change, Lauren Haeger (Peoria, Ariz.) went back-to-back with Tofft to make the score 17-2 in favor of the Gators. The Aggies added a run in the bottom of the inning on a leadoff home run to center.
Medina drew a one-out walk in the top of the fifth, but she was stranded. Haeger replaced Gourley in the circle for the final half-inning, allowed a leadoff home run before retiring three straight Aggies. The game ended on a terrific catch by Tofft in foul territory to finish Florida’s 17-4 victory.