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Gator Softball Evens Series with Missouri‏

Game Two of the weekend series between the third ranked University of Florida softball team and No. 15 Missouri started off like Friday’s matchup.

While the Orange and Blue would ultimately win 9-4, The Tigers (37-13, 13-7 SEC) jumped out to an early 4-0 lead, shelling Gator freshman Delanie Gourley in the first inning. She would not record an out, allowing four earned runs on two hits.

The Gators (42-9, 12-8 SEC) would turn to junior Lauren Haeger, who had not seen much action in the circle. Haeger would go on to pitch a complete game, surrendering no runs on six hits with two strikeouts.

The Gators would get a run in the second inning but the fireworks occurred an inning later.

The Gators took a 6-4 lead with five runs in the third. Sophomore Kelsey Stewart led off the inning with a bunt single before sophomore Kirsti Merritt walked and senior Stephanie Tofft moved both up one base with a groundout. Haeger then reached on a fielder’s choice to score Stewart before junior Bailey Castro brought Merritt home on a single to left field. Junior Briana Little then punctuated the rally with a go-ahead three-run home run to left.

Haeger retired the Tigers on three groundouts in the fourth, and blasted a three-run homer in the home half to score Tofft and Merritt. Castro and Little drew walks following the home run, but both were stranded.

Mizzou had four base runners in the fifth on a walk, a single and two fielder’s choices, but the Gators cut down two runners before Haeger left two on base.   The Tigers knocked a pair of two-out singles in the final frame but Haeger stranded both on a ground out to shortstop to end the game and knot the series at one apiece.

The final game of the series is scheduled for Sunday at 11 a.m. This also marks the last home game of the regular season for the Orange and Blue.

About Jorge Pérez

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