The newly number one ranked Florida softball team (41-3) hosted the UCF Knights (23-20) on Wednesday night and came out with a 9-1 win. Florida won with a walk-off run rule hit in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Quick Offensive Start
Once again, the Gators got off to a hot start, scoring six runs in the first two innings. In the bottom of the first, four different Florida batters earned four consecutive RBI. Jaimie Hoover had the big hit of the inning with a double to center field. Kayli Kvistad was able to score off the hit from second base. Aleshia Ocasio would get the final RBI of the inning with a hard hit ball to the shortstop which drove in Hoover from third base. Gator coach Tim Walton said his team brought the right confidence to play the Knights in this game.
The bottom of the second inning started off with two outs as Sophia Reynoso struck out and Justine McLean flied out to center field. Amanda Lorenz then earned her second walk of three for the night and Nicole DeWitt singled to left field. In the next at bat, Kvistad hit the ball hard down the right field line and the ball just barely went over first base to be called fair. The hit drove both Lorenz and DeWitt in to score.
The Gator defense was changing throughout the night as Walton took advantage of his versatile players. Ocasio started in the circle and would get five strikeouts in five innings pitched. She would earn her eighth win of the season. Delanie Gourley came on in relief in the sixth inning and Ocasio moved to play at third base. Janell Wheaton started behind the plate, then was taken out to give freshman Jordan Roberts some reps at catcher. But, Wheaton would return to finish the game at where she started. By the end of the game, Florida made six different defensive changes. Wheaton said that having so much versatility gives the Gators a great advantage against opponents.
The lone run for UCF was scored in the top of the fourth inning. Megan Greenwell started the inning with a bunt single and would later steal second base. The next batter, Cassady Brewer would get Greenwell to third base with a ground out to first. All the Knights needed was a sacrifice fly to score Greenwell, which was delivered by Courtney Rotton.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Gators delivered again with three more runs off of four hits. DeWitt and Wheaton both earned doubles. Chelsea Herndon brought in the final two runs for Florida with a single to right field which scored both Wheaton and Katie Chronister who was pinch running for Kvistad.
After getting only 10 hits in the three game series against Kentucky last weekend, Florida bounced back with 12 hits against the Knights. Wheaton said this team performance will only propel them to more success in their next series against Ole Miss.
Next, Florida will take on 18th ranked Ole Miss at home this weekend. The three game series will begin Friday night at 6 p.m. at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.