Florida holds off Eastern Michigan
Schutte's fielder's choice lifts third-ranked Gators past Eagles
GAINSVILLE, Fla. -- Florida captured its 14th victory of the 2012 season on Thursday with a 2-1, eight-inning victory against Eastern Michigan at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium on the eve of UF’s Lipton Invitational.
With two runners in scoring position and the game tied 1-1 in the bottom of the eighth, junior Brittany Schutte put a ball in play in the infield, allowing freshman Jess Damico to scamper home from third on a fielder’s choice for the 2-1 Florida (14-1) victory. For Schutte, the game-winning RBI marked her third of the season
The Eagles, who are in the middle of a 15-game Florida road swing, fell to 2-8 on the young campaign, as Lauren Wells tallied her fifth loss of the season. The Gators saw three Eagle hurlers Thursday. Starter Jenna Ignowski worked the first 4.2, Lindsay Rich came on for 2.2 and Wells entered for Schutte’s at-bat, giving up the game-winning run, Florida’s second score of the contest. EMU’s pitching staff fanned just four Gators on the day, but held the Orange and Blue to two hits, while walking five.
Sophomore Hannah Rogers improved to 9-0 in the circle, registering the fifth double-digit strikeout game of her career with 11 Ks on the night, one shy of her career-best 12. Rogers’ last double-digit game came last season against Alabama on April 24. Rogers gave up just one run on three hits and walked one in eight innings against the Eagles.
After a scoreless first frame for both teams, Eastern Michigan was first to put a run on the board in the top of the second on a Nellie Coquillard RBI single to right field. In the third, junior Samantha Holle tallied her first hit of the season, and one of UF’s two of the evening, with a hard hit to left field, but the Gators weren’t able to capitalize.
Schutte was the first to get on base in the fourth inning on a hit-by-pitch with one out. The right fielder proceeded to swipe second to get into scoring position and was joined on the diamond by freshman Lauren Haeger, who drew a two-out walk after EMU fanned sophomore Cheyenne Coyle. Florida’s first run of the game came on a RBI single up the middle from junior Kelsey Horton, who was UF’s catcher Thursday, that sent Schutte across home to tie the score 1-1.
The score remained knotted for the fifth, sixth and seventh innings as the Gators headed to extra innings for the second time this season, the last being a 3-2 victory against USF on Feb. 12. With Damico starting the bottom of the eighth at second because of the international tiebreaker rule, freshman Sami Fagan drew a walk to put two Gators on. Senior Michelle Moultrie moved Damico to third and S. Fagan to second with a sacrifice bunt, and it was Schutte who clinched the win with the fielder’s choice that sent Damico home.
McKenna Russ, Allison Scherer and Coquillard tallied EMU’s three hits on Thursday, while Russ scored the lone run on Coquillard’s RBI base hit.