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Gator Softball Can’t Come Back, Fall To Bulldogs, 6-5

Despite hitting their third grand slam of the weekend on Sunday, the third ranked Florida Gator softball team  (38-4, 12-3 SEC) couldn’t rebound from an early five run deficit against SEC rival Mississippi State (24-14, 3-9 SEC).  MSU beats Florida 6-5.

Two days after pitching her first career no-hitter, junior pitcher Hannah Rogers (22-3, 1.31 ERA) struggled against the Bulldogs. Against the same lineup she dominated Friday night, Rogers found herself in trouble early, giving up five runs on seven hits in the top of the second inning. Florida head coach Tim Walton says Rogers wasn’t at her best Sunday.

Facing their largest deficit of the season, Florida wasn’t ready to throw in the towel. Freshman catcher Taylore Fuller (.186, 2 hr, 13 rbi) knocked a bases loaded, 3-2 fastball over the left field wall in the top of the second, closing the gap to one. Fuller says she’s been waiting all season for the chance to help her team.

Sophomore Lauren Haeger and freshman Alyssa Bache both saw time in the circle on Sunday after Rogers was lifted. Haeger (10-1, 2.17 ERA) says both pitchers knew if they could keep Mississippi State off the scoreboard, their team would have a chance to come back.

After the Bulldogs put up a sixth run in the top of the third, Florida outfielder Kelsey Horton pulled the Gators back within one – knocking a solo shot in the top of the sixth. Horton (.293, 7 hr, 23 rbi) led UF at the plate through the weekend series against Mississippi State with a .667 clip (4-for-6), including a double, two homers, five RBI and a team-high four walks.

Up next for the Gators is South Florida on Wednesday, before hitting the road for their next four contests. Florida got past the Bulls on February 27th in Tampa, 3-1, thanks to a Lauren Haeger two-run walkoff homer. Walton says their matchup against USF with a weekend series at Kentucky will prove to be a tough stretch for his team.

First pitch on Wednesday at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium is set for 6pm.

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