Haeger, Rogers lead Gators in sweep over Tigers
Published: Sunday, April 6, 2014 at 9:03 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, April 6, 2014 at 9:03 p.m.
In a classic pitcher's duel Sunday, Florida's Lauren Haeger delivered the only run of the game — an RBI single in the bottom of the eighth inning — to lift No. 6 Florida to a 1-0 win over No. 19 Auburn at Pressly Stadium.
The Gators (34-8, 8-7 SEC), who received a masterful performance from pitcher Hannah Rogers (16-6), took all three games against the Tigers (31-9-1, 6-6) for their first SEC series sweep of the season.
Rogers faced just two batters above the minimum for eight scoreless innings. She retired the Tigers 1-2-3 in every inning except the third while giving up just four hits.
“To step up and not only shut out a really good hitting Auburn team but to four-hit them says a lot about her stuff,” Florida head coach Tim Walton said.
Three of Auburn's four hits were leadoff singles, but Florida quickly eliminated all of Auburn's threats. Rogers got ground-ball outs and the Gator defense behind Rogers did its job. Auburn's Morgan Estell and Ausyn West hit into double plays in the first two innings, respectively, after a leadoff hit. In the fourth inning after Kasey Cooper's leadoff single, Gator catcher Aubree Munro gunned her down attempting to steal second base.
The biggest defensive play for Florida, however, came the inning before. In the third inning with two outs and runners on first and second, Estell slapped a grounder up the middle. Shortstop Kathlyn Medina ranged over to field the ball behind second base. With no play at either second or first, the quick- thinking Medina, who played an integral part in turning the double plays, threw home getting Tiffany Howard who was attempting to score from second base.
All the defense and solid pitching set up for the extra-inning heroics. Kirsti Merritt turned what looked like a routine single into a one-out double in the eighth. The sophomore sprinted out of the batter's box and caught Auburn's outfield napping. Haeger brought her home for the winning run.
The Gators travel to Tallahassee on Wednesday to take on No. 8 Florida State looking to avenge last Wednesday's 3-2 loss to the Seminoles.