The No. 3 Florida Gators went 5-0 in California this weekend at the Judi Garman Classic. They finished the weekend with a 7-4 win over Northwestern on Saturday.
The Gators took two wins against ranked opponents. They beat No. 23 California 4-0. Junior Kayli Kvistad was 3 for 3 at the plate including a two-run home run that opened up the scoring in the bottom of the third inning. Later that night, Florida defeated No. 7 UCLA 9-4. The Bruins scored first, but Florida responded with four runs of their own in the first inning. By the end of the second inning, the Gators had an 8-1 lead thanks to a Janell Wheaton home run and two doubles from Sophia Reynoso and Kvistad.
Florida played Northwestern to finish their weekend out in the west. The scoring started for the Gators in the second inning. Sophomore Amanda Lorenz hit a single to left field with two outs and the bases loaded. Two runs scored off of the hit and Justine McLean was able to capitalize on a bad throw from the catcher to second base in the same play giving Florida a 3-0 lead.
In the fourth inning, freshman Jordan Roberts smashed the ball over center field for a two-run home run, extending Florida’s lead. Roberts now has three home runs on the season.
The Wildcats broke up the shutout in the bottom of the fifth inning. The leadoff batter got on base after an error by Jaimie Hoover at third base. The bases were then loaded due to a walk and an infield single. With two outs, Sabrina Rabin hit a single up the middle to put Northwestern on the board. The Gators answered with a run of their own in the top of the sixth. Aleshia Ocasio led off the inning with a triple and was scored off of a RBI from McLean.
In the bottom of the sixth, Northwestern started the inning with three base hits in a row. With runners on the corners and no outs, Brooke Marquez singled to right field, but the ball went under McLean’s glove which allowed two runs and Marquez advanced to third. Starting pitcher Kelly Barnhill was then taken out of the game and replaced by Katie Chronister. The Wildcats recorded one more run from a sac fly and were retired. Florida still had the lead, 6-4, going into the final inning.
The Gators followed with another run as Ocasio pulled off a suicide squeeze to score Nicole DeWitt. Back on the field, Delanie Gourley finished the game in the circle for Florida and retired the side.
#Gators earn 20th win of the season to cap off the Judi Garman Classic!!
See you in Gainesville for SEC Opening Weekend vs. Missouri! pic.twitter.com/z6ohEpVEQI
— Gators Softball (@GatorsSB) March 4, 2017
Florida (20-1) finished the weekend, outscoring their opponents 45-8 in five games. The pitching staff collectively struck out 50 batters including a perfect game on Thursday for senior Delanie Gourley.
The Gators will open SEC play next weekend at home against Missouri. The first game will be Saturday at 11:30 a.m. at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.