UF’s Keagan Rothrock pitches Sunday against UIC at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. [Lee Ann Anderson/WRUF]

Rothrock, Brown Throw Combined One-Hitter For Gators

Freshmen Keagan Rothrock and Ava Brown pitched a combined one-hitter Sunday to complete the Florida Gators softball team’s domination of the T-Mobile Tournament at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium by beating University of Illinois Chicago 8-0.

The No. 14 Gators (15-2) rolled through Colgate, Lafayette College and UIC 66-1 in the five wins, ending all by the mercy rule.

UF’s Korbe Otis hits the ball Sunday against UIC at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.
[Lee Ann Anderson/WRUF]

Combined One-hitter

Rothrock (6-2) went the first 4.1 innings vs. UIC (4-11), giving up the only hit while striking out eight and walking one. Brown went the final 1.2 to close it out.

Rothrock was coming off a no-hitter Friday night against Lafayette College. Though she threw only 57 pitches, she caught a glimmer of perfection. However, she gave up a walk to Jo Jo Santiago in the third inning Sunday.

In the fourth, she faced Emma Gumont. In an even 1-1 count, Gumont laced the ball up the middle and raced toward first. As her cleat made contact with the bag, UIC’s dugout exploded. They banged their hands against the dugout fence, screaming and clapping. It was the only time they reached first via a hit.

UF coach Tim Walton said the Gators’ success against smaller schools will help prepare them for the road ahead.

Rothrock said she felt it was important to practice fundamentals in less competitive games.

“Doing the little things, especially in the smaller games,” Rothrock said. “So, when it gets to the bigger games, we hit the spot.”

Though she prefers starting, Brown gained more experience as a reliever, she said. She kept the ball inside the stadium, getting two ground outs and three flyouts.

Small ball

Florida has mercy-ruled opponents 13 times this season.

However, against UIC, Florida played small ball. The Gators waited for pitches they could smash. They walked six times and had nine hits.

So when the Gators can send a ball through the gap, there are runners in scoring position. In total, they had three RBI singles and an RBI double.

In the sixth inning, Ariel Kowaleski, the freshman catcher, singled to right field with the bases loaded. Jocelyn Erickson scored and Brooke Barnard advanced to third. While UIC was distracted, Barnard stole home, ending the game.

Walton said the ability to get RBIs with no outs distinguishes good teams and great ones.

“Driving runs in with two shots,” he said. “That’s the difference between packing your gear up at the end of May and going on to Oklahoma City.”

UF’s Korbe Otis swings Sunday against UIC at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. [Lee Ann Anderson/WRUF]

Up Next

The Gators visit the West Coast for the Judi Garman Classic in Fullerton, California. They start with a doubleheader Thursday against Cal State-Fullerton (9-5) at 8 p.m. ET and then play Long Beach State (1-11) at 10:30 p.m.

About Liana Handler

Liana Handler is a sophmore at the University of Florida, studying sports journalism.

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