Mardi Gras may be over, but the Florida softball team celebrated after winning both games of a doubleheader on Saturday. The second ranked Gators (8-0) hit the road for the second straight weekend as the team traveled to Lafayette to take on number 16 Louisiana (5-2) for a three-game series at Lamson Park.
In front of a hostile crowd, Florida swept the twin bill 4-0 and 9-0 in a run rule shortened second game.
Coming off a near-perfect outing on Wednesday, Florida pitcher Kelly Barnhill did not get off to a good start in the first game. She hit the first batter she saw and allowed a hit and things could have gone wrong very early for the Gators. But the Gator defense threw out Louisiana senior Brittany Rodriguez at home and there was no harm done in the first inning or in any other inning after that threat.
In the other dugout, the Ragin’ Cajuns pitching was dominant early in Game 1 of the doubleheader. Louisiana pitchers Casey Dixon and Kylee Jo Trahan pitched almost six perfect innings before the Gators finally found their rhythm.
A two-run home run by third baseman Nicole DeWitt to left field would key a four run inning that Louisianna would not be able to overcome.
While Florida struggled early in the first game, it made adjustments and came out swinging in the second. The Gators batted around in the first inning of Game 2 as they jumped out to a 4-0 lead before spectators could get back to their seats.
Mistakes made by the Ragin’ Cajun defense coupled with solid hits from the entire Florida lineup resulted in the strong start. DeWitt stood out again as she recorded her second home run of the day.
Sophomore catcher Jordan Roberts also hit well as she went one-for-two, with a walk and three RBIs in the second game.
Walks became a significant issue in Game 2 for the Louisiana pitching staff. The Ragin’ Cajun pitchers combined for 10 total walks during the loss, including a sixth-inning where it walked four batters while hitting two others — resulting in a six-run inning to ice the game.
Room For Improvement
Although the Gators were able to come out of the day with two wins, they did not play flawlessly. There are still areas of improvement that will need to be addressed.
The Gators hit into five double plays during the doubleheader. While the team knew it would not be known for its speed, disciplined baserunning is still a necessity and could be a focus in practice after the series is over.
The Gators also struggled with Louisiana’s aggressive baserunning early. The Ragin’ Cajuns stole three bases during Game 1 and forced a throwing error. While UF made the adjustment and didn’t allow any stolen bases in the second game, this could be another area that will need to be looked at by head coach Tim Walton.
These adjustments will have to wait as the team plays the third and final game of the series against Louisiana on Sunday.