Florida softball surges past USF on 11-run inning
Published: Wednesday, April 23, 2014 at 9:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, April 23, 2014 at 9:42 p.m.
Two-out rallies are always nice, but rarely do they result in the kind of number Florida put up against South Florida on Wednesday at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.
With two outs and nobody on base in the second inning, the No. 3 Gators exploded for 11 runs and went on to run-rule the Bulls, 17-1, in five innings.
“I've never seen one like that before,” UF coach Tim Walton said. “I told the girls after the game, that was impressive. Eleven runs with two outs, that's just unheard of. It was really, really good.”
The Bulls (33-14) took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first on a two-out, solo home run by Kourtney Salvarola, her team-leading 12th of the year, but UF answered quickly with a pair of runs in the home half of the inning.
The Gators (41-8) then blew things open in their next at-bat.
After back-to-back outs, Kelsey Stewart singled, and Kirsti Merritt followed by slamming a two-run home run, her 10th of the season, over the center-field fence that opened the floodgates.
By the time the inning was finished, 12 straight batters had reached base against three different USF pitchers, and 11 of them had scored.
“I just knew it was a 2-0 count and I was looking for something that was going to be my pitch,” Merritt said. “That's the pitch that I want to hit over the fence.”
UF added four more runs in the third, keyed by Bailey Castro's solo homer, as the Gators won for the 10th straight time.
After allowing the first-inning homer, senior starter Hannah Rogers (21-6) allowed just one hit the rest of the way, tossing a five-inning, complete game to earn the victory.
“When your team can score that many runs, it just allows you to go out there and pitch and have fun, too,” Rogers said. “You can work on some things that normally you might not get to in games and throw different pitches.”
Every UF starter had at least one hit. Stewart and Merritt led the way with three hits apiece, while Merritt knocked in five runs.
USF starter Erica Nunn (9-7), who was chased after 1 2/3 innings, took the loss.
The Gators, 11-7 in SEC play, will host No. 15 Missouri (35-12, 12-6) in their final regular-season home series this weekend.