Florida Softball Sweeps Visiting South Dakota in a Doubleheader

The top ranked Florida softball team is 24-0 after sweeping South Dakota (2-20) on Wednesday by identical 9-0 scores.

Florida’s first game saw some major offensive production from centerfielder Kirsti Merritt. In the first inning, she drove in Kelsey Stewart with a sacrifice fly and later rattled off home runs in both the second and fourth innings to give her a total of five RBI’s for the game.

Merritt says she didn’t know what to think of her homers, but it was nice to be recognized by her strength coaches after adjusting her stance.

The first game ended via mercy rule in the sixth inning on a three run walk-off homer by Kayli Kvistad. Gator freshman pitcher Kelly Barnhill improved to 8-0 on the season. Despite Barnhill’s impressive five innings and Aleshia Ocasio holding off any scores in the sixth, the Gators’ best pitching came in their second game.

Junior pitcher Delanie Gourley had a special night, striking out nine batters and recording her second career no-hitter. Gourley improved to 9-0 in the circle after a nine run opening inning by her teammates.

Gourley says she doesn’t like to be over-confident when pitching a no-hitter, saying you almost always assume the other team is going to get a hit at some point in the game.

While the Gators excelled offensively the first game, the second contest seemed more like a Coyote loss than a Gator win. The Gators earned nine runs off of only four hits, with most of the offense coming from walked batters by South Dakota pitching.

Despite the relatively unchallenging win, Gator coach Tim Walton knows that his team is learning valuable lessons as they look forward to SEC play against Auburn.  The Gators will open SEC play this weekend with a three game series at Auburn, starting on Saturday.

About Charlie Jordan

I'm a senior studying Political Science at the University of Florida. Multimedia Sports Reporter for ESPN Gainesville 95.3 and WUFT - Passionate about life, sports, and fitness.

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