Gator softball takes down USF in six innings, 9-1

The third-ranked Florida softball team (39-4, 12-3 SEC) put up nine runs against the nation’s second best pitching staff Wednesday night, en route to a season sweep of their in-state rivals as the Gators post a 9-1, six inning victory.

South Florida (32-12) entered the game with its pitching staff giving up an average of less than two runs per game this season. After falling behind 1-0 in the top of the second, Florida’s bats came alive.

The Gators scored a run in four of the next five innings to hand USF its second worst loss of the season. Wednesday’s victory also snapped the Bulls’ nine-game win streak.

Getting the start on the mound for Florida was sophomore Lauren Haeger (6 IP, 1 ER, 5 K, 2 BB), who pitched her sixth complete game of the season and picked up her 11th win. Florida head coach Tim Walton said that Haeger helped herself on the mound by going after hitters.

Florida sophomore outfielder Briana Little went 1-for-2 at the plate Wednesday night, but still made her way into UF’s record books. Facing a 2-1 count in her third at-bat, Little was hit by USF pitcher Erica Nunn. That was Little’s 16th hit-by-pitch this season, setting a new school single-season record. Walton said that Little does whatever it takes to get on base for her team.

The Orange and Blue will now hit the road for a three-game series against SEC rival Kentucky (28-10, 8-4 SEC). The weekend set will serve as Florida’s third-to-last conference series of the season, with just Georgia and South Carolina remaining before the SEC Tournament. The Wildcats have taken five of the last six meetings between the two teams, sweeping UF in Lexington in 2011 before taking two-of-three from Florida in Gainesville last season. Walton said that his team can beat anyone as long as they play their style of ball.

Friday’s game against the Wildcats starts at 6 p.m., Saturday’s contest begins at 1 p.m. and Sunday’s matchup will start at noon.

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