The third ranked Florida softball team opened play at the Citrus Classic on Friday at the Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando. The Gators took on Syracuse and Fordham and finished the day with two shutouts. The final scores were 2-0 against Syracuse and 4-0 against Fordham.
Junior Aleshia Ocasio started in the circle for Florida (12-1) as they faced the Syracuse Orange (6-5) in their first contest of the day. Both teams started off strong at the plate in the first inning. The Gators played as the visitors and loaded the bases in the top of the first with two walks and an infield hit, but could not produce any runs. The Orange lead off hitter Sammy Fernandez smashed a triple down the left field line in the bottom of the first and the Gator defense was able to escape the early pressure.
In the top of the third inning, Florida got on the board to take the lead. The inning started with two walks from Amanda Lorenz and Kayli Kvistad. Freshman Jaimie Hoover was batting in the clean up spot for the first time this season and drove in the first run with a double to right center field.
The Gators struck again in the fifth inning. With two outs and runners on first and second, redshirt freshman Sophia Reynoso singled up the middle to give Florida its final run of the game.
Ocasio earned her second win of the season, pitching four innings in the contest. Sophomore Kelly Barnhill came in as relief in the fifth and earned the save. She faced nine batters and retired them all, eight were strikeouts.
In their next game, Florida played against Fordham (7-4). The contest became a pitching duel between Gator senior Delanie Gourley and Fordham’s Lauren Quense. Through the top of the sixth inning, only three hits had been allowed from either team.
— Gators Softball (@GatorsSB) February 24, 2017
In the bottom of the sixth, the scoring finally opened up for Florida. Nicole DeWitt walked and stole second base putting her in scoring position with one out. Kvistad came up next and delivered with a single up the middle, scoring DeWitt. Hoover followed with another single for the Gators. Two batters later, freshman Jordan Roberts hit a three run home run over left center field giving Florida a 4-0 lead.
Gourley finished the night with nine strikeouts and allowed only one hit. The senior leads the team with a 5-1 record.
On Saturday, the Gators will face two more opponents. The first will be Liberty (7-4) at 11 a.m. followed by a match against Elon (7-3) at 1:15 p.m.