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Gator Softball Beats South Carolina In Series Opener

Bailey Castro crossing home plate with the game clinching home run.

Offensive consistency has been a problem for the third ranked Florida Gator softball team since they returned from their California road trip. This past Wednesday, they only scored two runs against North Florida. Against the South Carolina Gamecocks on Friday, the Gators showed their full offensive potential in a 10-2 win. The game finished by run-rule in the bottom of the sixth inning with two outs.

The Gators are now 34-4 on the year, 6-4 in the SEC.

Senior Bailey Castro went 2 for 2 with two home runs, three runs batted in, and a walk. This comes a game after she slipped rounding second base to be thrown out at third against UNF. She was the potential game-winning run at the time, forcing the game to extra innings. Castro simply wanted to make any sort of impact at the plate.

“I always have been trying to hit the top half of the ball. Just trying to got out with a better approach at the plate and I think it just paid off,” she said.

Lauren Haeger also had a huge night not only offensively but in the circle as well. She had six innings of work with six strikeouts, only allowing four hits and a walk. Haeger struggled early but found a groove once Florida got the lead in the bottom of the third. As for what she did at the plate, the senior brought home a total of four runs, three of them coming off a home run in the sixth inning. Haeger hadn’t hit a home run in 10 games before Friday’s game. She felt relieved after the game.

“I finally put a good swing on a ball. It felt so good. It’s a relief, but I am just going to go up there thinking line drives like I have been and the home runs will come.”

Florida coach Tim Walton spent a lot of time this week with the team to work on the offense. One technique he used was to put them in small hitting groups to maximize the amount of reps at the plate. Overall, Walton is pleased with his team’s work ethic.

“Give them credit. As you can tell, as you can see from the past two games, just how hard we are working on the offense. We are working.”

The Gators will be back on the diamond today for a double-header against the Gamecocks to complete the three-game series. First pitch of the first game with be at 1 p.m. The second game will begin approximately 30 minutes after the completion of the first one.

For full audio clips of quotes above and more, click below:

Walton impressed with the offensive work ethic

Walton on Kayli Kvistad’s game performance and overall in the season

Castro if she knew the balls were out when she hit them

Castro on her approach against South Carolina

Haeger felt good after hitting a home run

About Fernando Juncadella

Senior at the University of Florida. Working at ESPN Gainesville for four years, covering Florida football, softball, and baseball.

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