The top-ranked Gator softball team held the Mercer Bears (17-9, 2-1 Atlantic Sun) scoreless in their midweek doubleheader. The two games could not have been any more different, but ended in the same fashion.
In the first game of the double bill, the Gators (26-1, 2-1 SEC) trounced the Bears 8-0 in a five inning, run rule game.??Senior pitcher Hannah Rogers moved to 10-1 on the year, striking out five in the shortened contest.
The offensive sparks came off the bats of junior Brianna Little and sophomore Taylor Schwarz who each went 2 for 3 with two runs scored while Kelsey Stewart drove home two runs for the Gators.
The second game was a pitching duel and in?nail biting fashion, the Gators were able to squeeze out a 1-0 win thanks to a walk-off walk by sophomore Kristi Merritt with the bases loaded. Freshman southpaw Delanie Gourley got the win in the circle with nine strikeouts ?to improve her record to 10-0 on the year.
Florida left nine on base and overcame some offensive threats by the Bears as well.?? The winning run scored?after?a Chelsea Herndon lead-off triple in the final inning. The triple was followed by intentional walks by junior Lauren Haeger and senior Stephanie Tofft. The game would end just as the first game, with a walk to drive in a run.
Gator coach?Tim Walton says that the team could learn a lot from both style of games.
“It prepares you, you know,” Walton said. “There’s nothing like having at-bats with a 0-0 ballgame, there’s nothing like playing defense with a 0-0 ballgame. Same thing pitching. It really prepares you.”
Walton also talked about the pressure pitcher Delanie Gourley faced in the second game.
“Tonight, they were all in duress. If she makes one bad pitch, she’s down 1-0. So I think she really buckled down and did?great job tonight.”
After playing Mercer Wednesday, Florida will travel to face LSU in Baton Rouge this weekend. First pitch is scheduled Friday at 7 PM. You can catch the full slate of games on ESPN 850.
To hear?more of head coach Tim Walton’s comments following Wednesday?s game click on the links below: