Spartans Fall at No. 3 Florida
Gainesville, Fla. – After the start of the game was delayed by two hours for rain, third-ranked Florida scored 11 runs in the first three innings and took an 11-0 victory over USC Upstate Wednesday night in non-conference softball action at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.
Upstate fell to 21-3 on the year with the loss, snapping a five-game winning streak. The Spartans will travel to Jacksonville, Fla., to take on Jacksonville Friday and Saturday in a three-game A-Sun series. Friday's doubleheader begins at 4:00 p.m., while Saturday's single game will start at 1:00 p.m. Florida improves to 28-3.
After Florida put runners on second and third with two outs, the Gators opened a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first when Bailey Castro reached on an Upstate error and a runner scored from third on the play. One batter later, Stephanie Tofft singled to center to drive in a pair of runs as the Gators opened a 3-0 advantage. All three runs were unearned against Spartan starter Sam Poarch (Jacksonville, Fla.).
Upstate came up with a couple of defensive gems in the second inning. With a runner on first, Katie Medina lined out to Cheyenne Griffin (Moore, S.C.) at first. Griffin then dove into the bag to beat Taylore Fuller back to the base to complete the unassisted double play. After leadoff hitter Kelsey Stewart walked, Spartan catcher Ericka Harris (Piedmont, S.C.) threw Stewart out attempting to steal second. It was the first time all season Stewart had been thrown out attempting to steal, entering the game a perfect 24-for-24 in stolen base attempts.
Florida starter Hannah Rogers was strong early in the game. She struck out five and allowed just two base runners on a strikeout/wild pitch and a hit batter through the first three innings.
Florida put the game out of reach in the third inning, scoring eight runs to open an 11-0 lead. The Gators extended the lead to 5-0 when Lauren Haeger lined a two-run home run off the foul pole in left. After a walk, Castro connected on a two-run home run to give the Gators a 7-0 lead.
Upstate changed pitchers and sent Anna Miller (Portland, Ore.) into action with no outs in the inning. After allowing two walks to put runners on first and second, Miller struck out Fuller for the first out of the inning. However, Medina singled to right to drive in a run and give Florida an 8-0 lead, while putting runners on first and third.
The Gators loaded the bases on a hit batsman and scored the ninth run of the game on an infield error. Florida made it an 11-0 game on Haeger's two-run double to right. The Spartans got out of the inning on Miller's strikeout and then solid defensive play on a comebacker.
Rogers continued to pitch well for Florida, retiring the side in order in the fourth. Miller retired the side in the bottom of the fourth for Upstate, sending the game to the fifth inning and new Florida pitcher Alyssa Bache.
Dana Landers (Simpsonville, S.C.) led off the inning with a double to left center to break up the no-hitter. However, the Spartans could not produce anything off of the leadoff double and the game ended after five.
Rogers tossed four innings of no-hit ball with seven strikeouts to earn the win. She improved to 15-2 on the year. Upstate's Poarch suffered her first loss of the season, falling to 1-1 on the year after allowing seven runs on five hits. Three of her runs were unearned.