UF roundup: Florida softball routs Fordham, OSU

Florida sophomore outfielder Kirsti Merritt had two home runs and four RBIs to lead the Gators past Fordham and Ohio State on Saturday.

Brett Le Blanc / Correspondent / FILE
Published: Saturday, March 1, 2014 at 11:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, March 1, 2014 at 11:42 p.m.

KISSIMMEE — No. 1 Florida (19-0) earned a pair of wins at the Diamond 9 Citrus Classic, defeating Fordham 9-2 and Ohio State 9-1 (6 innings) at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

In the opener against the Rams, freshman Delanie Gourley pitched a complete game to improve to 6-0 on the season.

The lefty allowed two runs (one earned) on six hits over seven innings with one walk and eight strikeouts. Sophomore outfielder Kirsti Merritt provided an offensive spark with a pair of two-run home runs, and junior Lauren Haeger slugged a solo bomb. The Gators tallied four extra-base hits in the game, as second baseman Kelsey Stewart added a triple.

UF started quickly out of the gate when Stewart hit a leadoff single. She went first-to-third on Merritt's sacrifice, then scored on Haeger's RBI single to left.

Justine McLean started a three-run fourth inning with a walk, and then scored on Stewart's triple. That set the table again for Merritt, who delivered another home run to put the Gators ahead 6-0.

The Gators iced the win in the seventh. Haeger homered to lead off the frame before outfielder Jessica Damico walked after entering the game in the fifth as a pinch-runner.

Third baseman Stephanie Tofft then homered to right to bring in two runs and produce the final margin in Florida's 9-2 win.

UF earned its second mercy-rule victory of the season against Ohio State in the second game.

Stewart scored the game's first run in the opening frame when junior Bailey Castro was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.

The Buckeyes tied the game a 1 on an RBI triple in the second, but Haeger gave the Gators the lead again in the third with a solo home run.

Florida extended its lead in the fifth with six runs. Stewart hit an RBI single before Haeger added a grand slam. Tofft singled later in the frame to score Castro, and Stewart sealed the victory in the sixth with a base hit that plated Munro to give the Gators a 9-1 lead, ending the game via mercy rule.

Women's basketball

Florida plays host to No. 17 Texas A&M on Sunday at 1 p.m. in the final regular-season game for both teams.

Florida seniors Jaterra Bonds & Lily Svete will be honored in a postgame ceremony.

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