UF softball secures sweep of Auburn
Published: Sunday, April 15, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, April 16, 2012 at 12:13 a.m.
Sophomore ace Hannah Rogers tossed her second complete game of the weekend and freshman Sami Fagan's clutch two-out, two-run double to left field in the fifth inning broke up a scoreless pitchers' duel as third-ranked Florida finished off a three-game SEC sweep of Auburn with a 5-2 win Sunday before a Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium crowd of 1,139.
The win was the Gators' ninth in the last 10 games and eighth straight in SEC play, improving Florida to 38-5 overall and a league-best 18-2 in SEC play.
“It's very important for us because obviously we want to win the SEC,” Rogers said. “But we've still got some really good SEC teams coming up that we have to stay focused for.”
Rogers (22-3), who went the distance in picking up a 3-2 win Friday in the series opener, tossed six strong innings of three-hit, shutout ball before the Tigers (26-18, 5-14), who have lost seven straight, got on the board in their final at-bat by scratching out a pair of runs on three hits.
By then, Rogers, who had five strikeouts, was pitching with a 5-0 lead.
“They had a tough pitching staff, and our girls didn't start hitting until the fifth inning,” Rogers said. “Our coach always tells us just to stay tough. As long as we can keep the other team to a minimum of runs, it just keeps our hitters more confident.”
Freshman first baseman Lauren Haeger, UF's winner in the circle Saturday who carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning in a 3-1 win, broke up the no-hit bid of Auburn starter and loser Angel Bunner (11-4) in the Gator fourth with a one-out single.
She stepped to the plate an inning later and followed Fagan's big double with her ninth home run of the year to cap a four-run, fifth-inning outburst.
“It was good – revenge for yesterday I guess,” said Haeger, who was 2-for-4 to up her batting average to .345 while increasing her team-high RBI total to 39.
“She (Bunner) was throwing good the whole game, and Sami got that great hit that pretty much fired everyone up.”
UF added an unearned run in the sixth when freshman Jess Damico singled to lead off the inning, advanced to third on a throwing error and raced home on sophomore Kasey Fagan's sacrifice fly.
The Gators played error-free ball in the field for the fourth straight game, highlighted by shortstop Cheyenne Coyle's diving backhand catch of a short fly ball to left off the bat of Auburn's Amber Harrison in the first inning and Kasey Fagan's heads-up play in the sixth when she fielded a sharp line drive in right by the Tigers' Caitlin Jordan and came up throwing to Haeger at first, retiring Jordan on a play that even had head coach Tim Walton pumped.
“It just happened so fast,” Kasey Fagan said. “I almost caught it, so I threw to first as fast as I could and we got her out. Coach looked really excited, so I was pretty excited.”
“I thought we made some great plays on defense,” Walton said. “Pitching and defense is the name of the game. It was a good Auburn pitching staff. They really pitched well, but the third time through the lineup, we figured it out a little better.”
In related news, junior All-America Brittany Schutte, who has been sidelined since March 2 after suffering a freak injury (broken jaw), dressed out for the first-time since and received a huge ovation when she was introduced.
“I don't know yet,” Walton replied when asked about her possible return.
“I just know it's huge to try to get her back and have her be a part of what we're doing. She's starting to work out a little bit now, so hopefully we're getting close to getting her back on the field.”
UF continues its current homestand with a three-game series against FIU that begins with a doubleheader Friday at 4 p.m.