UF's Stewart named SEC Player of the Week


Florida freshman Kelsey Stewart stares down a pitch during Florida's 9-1 win over South Florida at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium on April 10.

Brett Le Blanc / Correspondent
Published: Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 8:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 8:21 p.m.

Florida freshman Kelsey Stewart picked up her second SEC Player of the Week accolade Monday following a stellar week for the Gators against USF and No. 18 Kentucky.

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Florida freshman Kelsey Stewart stares down a pitch during Florida's 9-1 win over South Florida at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium on April 10.

Brett Le Blanc / Correspondent

Stewart’s second league recognition makes six SEC weekly honors for the UF softball squad this season.

Stewart, who plays second base, led the No. 3 Gators to a 3-1 record last week, including a 9-1 mercy-rule win over South Florida on Wednesday. Florida added its sixth SEC series win in Lexington, Ky., against the Wildcats with 7-4 and 6-3 wins Friday and Sunday, respectively, to take the series. The Gators (41-5, 14-4 SEC) have now won all of their conference series thus far, and the two victories over a ranked Kentucky squad elevated the Florida to 8-3 against top-25 competition this season.

Stewart batted .500 or above in all four of UF’s games in the last week of play, including a career-tying three hits against USF to start a four-game hit streak. The Gators infielder chalked up a career-tying four assists twice over the weekend in UF’s two wins against Kentucky.

Stewart leads Florida with 18 multiple hit games, 62 hits, a .392 batting clip, seven triples and 29 stolen bases. The first-year speedster is 13 hits away from UF’s freshman record for hits (75) and is two stolen bases shy of the Florida single-season record of 31 swipes, set by former Gators All-American Michelle Moultrie in 2011.

The 2010 Kansas Softball Gatorade Player of the Year entered last week ranked first in the country with her seven triples, while checking in 14th in stolen bases per game. Conference-wise, Stewart ranks third in the SEC with her 62 hits, first with seven triples, 188 plate appearances and 158 at-bats. Her 29 stolen bases rank fourth in the league and her 31 attempts are third. Defensively, Stewart checks in fifth in fielded double plays, helping turn nine of UF’s 18 thus far in 2013.

Stewart and the Gators will next visit No. 25 Florida State on Wednesday for a mid-week tilt in Tallahassee. The two squads met just three weeks ago in an epic showdown at UF’s Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium, with the Gators taking the 7-3 victory on a Briana Little walk-off grand slam in front of the largest crowd in Florida history. Florida will then play host to Longwood in a weekend three-game set with a doubleheader Saturday and the finale Sunday to wrap up non-conference play.

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