It was a roller coaster weekend for the top-ranked Gators softball team. The Gators (28-2, 4-2 SEC) took two of the three game weekend series against the 25th ranked LSU Tigers (18-10, 2-4 SEC) in Baton Rouge.
The first game of the series saw the Tigers one out away from victory, but a grand slam by sophomore Taylore Fuller but the Gators on top 6-5. LSU would send the game to extra innings, scoring on a bases-loaded fielder?s choice.
In the eighth, the Gators loaded the bases on a walk by junior Lauren Haeger and hit-by-pitches by sophomore Krisit Merritt and junior?Briana Little, and scored when freshman Justine McLean drew another free pass. Senior Hannah Rogers (11-1) , who relieved junior Lauren Haeger in the seventh, set the Tigers down in order in the bottom of the frame to give the Gators the hard-fought win in extra innings.
In the second game, the Gators attempted to mount a late comeback for the second straight night, but fell 3-2. The Gators scored two runs in the top of the seventh inning before the rally came up short. Senior Hannah Rogers allowed three runs on nine hits over six innings, walking one batter and striking out two as she took the loss to fall to 11-2 on the season.
LSU opened the scoring with two runs in the second on an RBI double and a run-scoring fielder?s choice. The Tigers added another run in the fourth on a solo home run that made the score 3-0. The Orange and Blue cut the deficit to one in the seventh when freshman Chelsea Herndon?singled to set up a two-run home run by senior Stephanie Tofft,?but UF was not able to complete a late comeback for the second straight game.
In the rubber match of the series, there was no shortage of offensive spark for the Gators, as they run-ruled the Tigers 10-2 in five innings. Junior Delanie Gourley?(11-0), allowed two runs on five hits with two walks and seven strikeouts to earn the complete-game victory.
The Gators got on the scoreboard immediately when sophomore Kelsey Stewart?led off the game with a home run to center field. UF?s offense continued its early spark with?a two-run blast down the left-field line by junior Lauren Haeger and an RBI double by sophomore Kristi Merritt. Sophomore Taylor Schwarz would add to the onslaught with?a three-run home run to left to make the score 7-0 after one half-inning.
LSU would score one run off Gourley in the bottom of the first, but the Gators answered back in the second with a two-run single from Schwarz that plated Haeger and Merritt. The scoring would stop until the fifth inning, when the Gators scored a run on an LSU error. LSU plated a run in the bottom of the frame, but Gourley finished off the Tigers to seal the 10-2 victory and secure the series for the Gators.
The Gators return home Tuesday to face Central Connecticut State at Katie Seashole Pressly Softball Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.