The top-ranked Gator softball team (29-2, 4-2 SEC) took advantage of strong pitching and two towering home runs to beat the Central Connecticut State Blue Devils 8-2 on Tuesday.
Gator coach Tim Walton turned to four different pitchers to hold the Blue Devils (9-5, 0-0 NEC) to two runs on four hits. Senior Hannah Rogers opened the game with 4.1 innings of no-hit ball with one walk and one strikeout. Freshman Delanie Gourley would close out the inning with two strikeouts. Juniors Lauren Haeger and Alyssa Bache would each pitch one inning with one strikeout each to close out the game.
Walton says that it is an advantage to be able to depend on the entire staff at a moment’s notice.
“We’re just trying to keep them sharp,” Walton said. “Keep them in their competitive flow. Delanie’s trying to work on a couple little things. Hannah, same thing. Lauren pitched on Friday, but she really hasn’t had that many innings as of late. We’re going to need everybody. We’re going to need them all. Sometimes you need four [pitchers] in a game, sometimes you need two in a weekend; sometimes you need four in a weekend. We’ve got to keep everybody ready to go.”
The offensive spark started with a Kelsey Stewart RBI triple in the third inning. The hit would mark the 31st consecutive time the sophomore has reached base on the season.
The Gators would bat around the lineup in the fourth inning. The inning included a three run home run by junior Taylore Fuller that cleared the scoreboard in centerfield. The Orange and Blue would tack on two more runs in the inning when Stephanie Tofft reached on an errant throw that pulled the CCSU first baseman off the bag, allowing Justine McLean and Kelsey Stewart to come home.
Junior Bailey Castro would add her own offensive spark in the fifth inning, blasting a skyscraper homerun that bounced off the top of the centerfield scoreboard. The Gators closed the game on a single by senior Stephanie Tofft after a lead-off triple by freshman Chelsea Herndon.
The Gators now turn their attention to the weekend as they welcome the ninth ranked Alabama Crimson Tide to Katie Seashole Pressly Softball Stadium for their third SEC series on the season. First pitch on Friday is scheduled for 6 p.m.
To hear more comments from head coach Tim Walton and players Kelsey Stewart and Taylore Fuller following Tuesday’s game click on the links below: