The No.2 Florida softball team (34-3) will be on the road for a mid-week match up with the UCF Knights (24-13) Wednesday evening. The Gators lead in the all-time series against the Knights 17-4. Florida will try to regain momentum after dropping two of three games in their series with Alabama last weekend.
Despite their latest losses, the Gators are tied for first in the SEC with a 9-3 record. Florida remains unbeaten in the non-conference segment of their schedule and have won 116 of 118 non-league games dating back to the start of 2013.
Head coach Tim Walton hasn’t announced who will be the starting pitcher for tonight’s match up. However, last weekend pitcher Delanie Gourley finished with four strikeouts while allowing three hits and three runs. Aleshia Ocasio replaced Gourley in the sixth inning, and Ocasio struck out three Alabama batters while allowing one hit through 1.2 innings pitched. Overall, head coach Tim Walton is pleased with where the Gators stand in the SEC, after having played all four teams in last year’s College World Series.
In the circle, Florida’s pitching has combined for an ERA of 0.85. Sophomore Aleshia Ocasio is 12-1 on the season with a 0.42 ERA and 88 strikeouts. While, junior veteran Delanie Gourley has a 0.86 ERA with 111 strikeouts and freshman Kelly Barnhill has 112 strikeouts. UF’s pitching staff has combined to allow the fewest runs in the SEC (37) and record the most strikeouts (311). As the veteran pitcher Delanie Gourley stated, the Gators pitching and offense has room to improve. Coach Walton also has a lot of confidence in his team including catcher Aubree Munro, who entered the 2016 season tied for second all-time in program history in fielding percentage (859-70-3) and fourth in stolen base against percentage.
Sophomore Kayli Kvistad leads the Florida offense, hitting .408 on the season with five home runs and 36 RBI. Senior Kelsey Stewart has a team-high 10 stolen bases, while freshman Amanda Lorenz leads the Gators with 29 walks. Left fielder Amanda Lorenz said the Gators have learned a lot from the pair of losses to Alabama and will have plenty of motivation headed into the UCF match up.
Happy #GAMEDAY! #ChargeOn pic.twitter.com/YOT9FBLn1c
— UCF Softball (@UCF_Softball) April 6, 2016
UCF is led by two of their seniors, Shelby Turnier in the circle and Jessica Ujvari at the plate. Turnier is 11-11 on the season with a 2.38 ERA and 165 strikeouts in 144.0 innings. While, Ujvari is hitting .317 with five home runs, seven doubles, two triples, 21 RBI and 14 runs scored.
First pitch is set for 6 p.m. at the UCF Softball Complex.