Photo Courtesy: Tim Casey/UAA Communications

No. 4 Florida Sweeps Missouri, Enters SEC Tournament as Top Seed

The fourth-ranked Gator softball team won 7-4 to complete a series sweep versus the Missouri Tigers on Sunday at Mizzou Stadium. Florida (47-8, 20-4 SEC) completed its sixth comeback victory of the season behind Kayli Kvistad’s seventh inning three-run home run. Nicole DeWitt homered early to put Florida on the scoreboard and singled to center field to tie the game. Florida is back in action in Columbia, Missouri, as the top seed in the upcoming 2018 Southeastern Conference Tournament held May 9-12.

Seventh-Inning Heroics

Missouri had a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second after starter Natalie Lugo (2-0) gave up three straight hits. Despite getting out of the inning, the Gators couldn’t reach base in the third. Therefore, falling into a deeper hole when Brooke Wilmes scored from a Kayla Kessinger single to right field. Aleshia Ocasio (18-6) relieved Lugo and got two outs in the infield to end the inning. Although the Tigers extended their lead, senior Nicole DeWitt’s 11th home run of the season made it 2-1.

However, Missouri wasn’t done yet in the bottom of the fourth. Rylee Pierce hit a two-run home run to center field like DeWitt had for Florida, extending the lead to 4-1. Again, the Gators found a way to close the gap to within a run. Danielle Romanello pinch-hit for Alex Voss and hit an RBI single up the middle to drive in Janell Wheaton. Additionally, Hannah Adams’s double to right field drove in Ocasio, who pinch-ran for Jordan Roberts. Both runs were products of walks by starter Madi Norman (9-7). Danielle Baumgartner (1-4) relieved her and ended the top of the fifth.

After a quiet sixth inning with only one hit, Florida entered the seventh with Jaimie Hoover hit by a pitch and Amanda Lorenz being walked. DeWitt took advantage and tied the game with a single to center field. Hoover scored and Kvistad came up to the plate and drilled a 2-2 count pitch to right field to score DeWitt and Lorenz. Ocasio returned to the circle and got the win in three batters.

What’s Next?

The Gators enter the 2018 Southeastern Conference Tournament as the top seed after clinching their fourth-straight Southeastern Conference Regular Season Championship on Friday. Florida will play its first game Thursday, May 10 at 7:30 p.m. on the SEC Network.

Tim Walton’s team will face eighth-seeded Alabama or ninth-seeded Auburn in the second round. The regular-season SEC champs won two of three against the Crimson Tide this season but never played Auburn.

About Homar Hernandez

Sports Journalist @ESPNGainesville, @VAVEL, @VAVEL_USA, @WUFTNews. Telecom at @UF. Miami Aficionado. Views are my own. RT's ≠ endorsements.

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