Softball owns Day 1 of Lipton event

Lauren Haeger (5-1) earned her fifth win of the season, tying her career best with 11 strikeouts in a four-hit shutout against Gardner-Webb in the nightcap.

File photo
Published: Friday, March 2, 2012 at 11:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, March 3, 2012 at 12:33 a.m.

The No. 3/4 Florida softball team opened the Lipton Invitational with two convincing victories.

The Gators used 16-0 and 9-0 five-inning, run-rule shutout victories over Eastern Michigan (2-10) and Gardner-Webb (7-9) Friday to go 2-0 on the first day of the Lipton Invitational at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.

As a team, the Gators hit .500, racking up 25 runs on 23 hits, including three doubles, a triple and four home runs. Eleven Gators tallied at least one hit throughout Friday's games, while seven connected for two or more hits on the day.

Two freshman hurlers tallied wins for the Gators, both going the distance in each contest, as Alyssa Bache (2-0) chalked up the win over Eastern Michigan with a three-hit shutout, walking just one and striking out four. Lauren Haeger (5-1) earned her fifth win of the season, tying her career best with 11 strikeouts in a four-hit shutout against Gardner-Webb in the nightcap.

Senior Michelle Moultrie was a double shy of hitting the cycle in UF's afternoon tilt with Eastern Michigan, as the Jacksonville product connected for a team-best five hits Friday (.714), including a team-high two home runs and a triple to go with a 1.857 slugging percentage, four RBIs and five runs scored.

The Gators improved to 16-1 on the season after Friday's slate, scoring a 2012-high 16 runs against the Eagles in the first game of the doubleheader, with a season-tying 14 hits.

Haeger and junior Brittany Schutte led UF with 3-for-4 efforts at the plate, while Schutte rallied for three hits, including a double and a homer for a team-high five RBIs on the evening. Haeger produced two doubles for the Gators.

Like Moultrie, Schutte was just one hit — a triple — shy of a cycle in the clash with Eastern Michigan.

For the second day of the event, the Gators will host back-to-back games against Gardner-Webb at noon, followed by Florida's first meeting with Tennessee State at 2:15 p.m.

Tennessee State topped Campbell, 6-1, to kick off the event on Friday, while the Camels rebounded in game two to down Eastern Michigan, 5-0. In the third game of Friday's slate, Gardner-Webb battled it out with TSU to pull out an 8-6 victory.

track & field: The Florida women's distance medley relay team, consisting of Agata Strausa, Ebony Eutsey, Shelby Hayes and Cory McGee, used a school-record time of 10:58.77 at the Columbia Last Chance Meet to automatically qualify for the 2012 NCAA Indoor Championships in Nampa, Idaho.

“I'm very, very proud of the women's DMR,” Florida head coach Mike Holloway said. “They broke the school record again and went up there with the goal of breaking 11 minutes and they did that.”

The race marks just the 11th time in NCAA history that a women's distance medley relay squad has broken the 11-minute barrier.

Florence Ngetich, the 2012 SEC women's 5000 meter champion, won the same title at the Armory, finishing in 16:12.88.

In other track news, Florida head coach Mike Holloway was named Women's Coach of the Year as part of the 2012 SEC Indoor Track and Field Awards, as voted on by the league's head coaches, announced by the league offices in Birmingham, Ala., on Friday.

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