Gourley tosses no-hitter in Gators' NCAA opener

Florida Gators pitcher Delanie Gourley throws against the Florida A&M Rattlers during the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday, May 16, 2014 in Gainesville, Fla. Florida defeated A&M 8-0.

Matt Stamey/Staff photographer
Published: Friday, May 16, 2014 at 8:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, May 16, 2014 at 8:06 p.m.

Delanie Gourley didn't know she had a no-hitter until it was a no-hitter.

Even if it almost wasn't.

The freshman breezed through the Florida A&M lineup, facing only one more than the minimum with two outs in the fifth inning. A grounder up the middle by Raven Moseley, which deflected off Gourley's glove and allowed Moseley to reach, was ruled an error.

“It was an error,” Gourley said. “I didn't realize it was a no-hitter until after the game. But I still thought it was an error.”

Gourley then retired Tashayla Irvis to end the game and give Florida an 8-0 win in its opener in the NCAA tournament in five innings.

Florida, now 46-11, advances to face Stetson today at 1 p.m. FAMU (25-28) takes on Central Florida in a loser's bracket game, scheduled for 3:30 p.m.

“Delanie really set the tone (with two strikeouts) in the first inning,” Florida coach Tim Walton said. “I was really proud of her in her first postseason start.”

Gourley had thrown a five-inning one-hitter against the Rattlers on April 11 in a 9-0 Florida win.

“I went into the game with a lot of confidence because of the way I pitched against them the last time,” Gourley said.

She walked only one batter and overcame three Florida errors (including her own in the fifth). One of those batters who reached on one of third baseman Stephanie Tofft's two errors in the game was erased on a nifty double play in the fourth. Amber Fullwood grounded out to short and first baseman Taylor Schwartz threw out Christina Robbs trying to advance from second to third.

Kelsey Stewart had three hits for Florida and a pair of Gators hit first-inning homers as Florida jumped out to a 6-0 lead.

The Gators knocked out FAMU starter Kenya Pereira in the first inning after only 21 pitches. Stewart started it with her fifth triple of the season, a shot down the right-field line. Tofft followed with a fly ball to center that was dropped by Florida A&M's Whitney Farris.

Farris was pulled from the game after the error, but nobody could have caught the next batter's hit.

Haeger took an outside pitch and drilled it over the fence in right center for her 17th homer of the season and fifth homer in an NCAA tournament game.

“It was a 2-0 count and I was going to hack at it, get the most out of my swing,” Haeger said. “I didn't think it was going to be out. I thought it was going to hit off the wall.”

Florida got two more runners on before Schwarz slammed a three-run homer to left-center field. It was Schwarz's eighth homer of the season.

“I don't want to say that broke the camel's back,” Walton said, “but that really deflates you a little bit.”

The Gators added another run in the second when Stewart singled, stole second and came home on an error.

In the fourth, knowing they needed one more run to make it an early night because of softball's run rule, the Gators played some small ball. Haeger led off with a sharp single (she's now hitting .410 during her career in the NCAA tournament) and Jessica Damico ran for her at first.

Damico stole second, went to third on a fly ball and scored on a grounder by freshman Justine McLean, who had entered the game as a defensive replacement an inning earlier.

“I was really happy with the way we executed on offense,” Walton said. “We've worked really hard on that. We talk about fast starts but that's easier said than done.”

STETSON 6, UCF 4 (8): In the first game of the tournament, Stetson scored three runs in the seventh to tie it and two in the eighth to win it. The Hatters scored all of their runs after the fifth inning.

Suwannee High alum Jessie TenBroeck had the winning single for the Hatters, now 39-12. Meredith Owen pitched a complete game for Stetson. UCF is now 41-17.

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