Riding a 10-game winning streak, the third ranked University of Florida softball team had outscored opponents 82-16 during that stretch. But in the series opener against No. 15 Missouri, the Gators could not seem to find their swings.
The Gators (41-8, 11-7 SEC) dropped the series opener to Missouri (36-12, 12-6 SEC), 5-3, in a game in which the final score does not tell the whole story.
The Tigers jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the third inning, and left the rest in the hands of freshman starter Tori Finucane. Finucane would dominate the Gators, pitching a complete game; striking out six and only surrendering four hits (she lost a no-hit bid with two outs in the fourth).
Gator head coach Tim Walton credits Finucane’s strong performance in the circle as a key to Missouri’s victory.
“It looked like she was throwing harder than pitchers we’ve seen recently. And at twilight, it’s a tough spot to be in, especially with some velocity. But again, that’s taking nothing from her, I think she threw well.”
The Tigers would add three more runs in the fifth inning, getting to the Gator starter, senior Hannah Rogers. The Tigers would ultimately score five runs on 10 hits, all off Rogers.
The Gator bats would wake up in the bottom of the seventh, thanks to a Stephanie Tofft solo shot and Taylore Fuller two-run home run. But the bats awoke too late, as Finucane was able to bounce back and get sophomore Aubree Munro to popout to the catcher to shut the door on a possible comeback for the Orange and Blue.
The Gators look to bounce back on Saturday as they celebrate Senior Day for Tofft and Rogers. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.
To hear post-game comments from coach Tim Walton and sophomore Taylore Fuller, click on the links below: