Gator softball erupts for 9-1 win

Published: Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 11:16 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 11:16 p.m.

The sixth-ranked Florida Gators erupted for six runs in the first inning and went on to post a 9-1, five-inning decision over Ole Miss before a season-high crowd of 1,427 at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium on Saturday.

The Gators (34-4, 14-2), winners of five games in a row, batted around in their first at-bat, parlaying four walks and three hits into six runs. The big blow was a two-out, two-run double by freshman second baseman Katie Medina that chased Ole Miss starter and loser Erinn Jayjohn (3-8).

That was more than enough for UF’s sophomore ace Hannah Rogers (20-2), who allowed just two hits and one run in four solid innings of work to pick up her 20th win of the year.

Freshman Lauren Haeger, who started the game at first base, came in to close things out in the fifth.

“I love it,” Rogers said. “For my team to be able to come out in the first inning and put six runs on the board is just awesome. It makes it so much easier to just pitch and have fun.”

Rogers did not allow a hit until the fourth inning when center fielder RT Cantillo led off the inning with her second home run of the season for the Rebels (16-20, 3-10) to make it 6-1.

“Obviously they started getting to her (Rogers) a little bit at the end, but she’s been out there two days in a row and they had faced her for eleven straight innings,” UF head coach Tim Walton said. “I thought they did a good job of making some adjustments.”

UF brought the eight-run rule into effect in the bottom of the inning, scoring three times. Freshman third baseman Sami Fagan’s one-out triple scored sister Kasey Fagan, who had walked, and Haeger followed with an RBI double. Cheyenne Coyle’s fielder’s choice later scored pinch-runner Brianna Little with UF’s ninth run, and the Rebels were unable to score in their next at-bat to extend the game.

Sami Fagan was 2-for-3 and scored two runs to pace UF while defensively recording a game-high four assists. She came into the game second on the team to senior Michelle Moultrie (.423) with a .361 batting average and is one of just four Gators to have started all 38 games this season.

Fagan, who has alternated as leadoff batter with Moultrie, likes following the Gator All-America center fielder in the lineup.

“It’s pretty awesome,” Fagan said. “When Michelle gets on base, it takes a lot of pressure off me. It opens up so many things for me. I can hit it in the five-six hole or I can bunt. And when we both get on, it’s always a huge pump-up for our team.”

That’s exactly how UF’s big first inning started. Moultrie drew a leadoff walk and Sami Fagan followed with a bunt single.

“I thought we had some good at-bats early in the game,” Walton said. “We were disciplined and didn’t swing at any bad pitches, and all of our at-bats were very productive. Overall, I thought we were pretty decent.”

Walton likes the way his young team, which has clinched its sixth SEC series win in six tries and will go for its fourth league sweep today at 1 p.m., continues to develop.

“We’re making some good progress,” he said. “The main thing is we’re starting to score runs with a runner at second base, runners on second and third or a runner at third. We’re being more productive and we have a more educated plan as opposed to just going up there and swinging and hoping to get lucky.”

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