ATHENS, Ga. — No. 4 Florida hit three solo home runs in the fourth inning to propel Florida to a 6-3 series clincher against No. 9 Georgia on Sunday at a packed Jack Turner Stadium in Athens. In front of a crowd of 1,644, Florida won its fifth consecutive SEC series, improving to 31-4 overall on the season and 12-2 in conference play.
For the second-consecutive day, and with UF down two runs in the fourth, sophomore Cheyenne Coyle knocked a round-tripper — her team-leading ninth of the season — and sophomore Lauren Haeger joined the party, making it back-to-back bombs to knot the game at 2-2 in the top of the inning. With two outs on the board in the same stanza, junior Ensley Gammel blasted UF’s third long ball of the inning, the game-winning RBI, which gave the Gators a 3-2 lead it wouldn’t give up.
Florida went on to add three more runs, outhitting Georgia 11-5 for its fourth double-digit hit game in Southeastern Conference play and tying for its most in league play since March 10 at Tennessee. Eight Gator batters connected for a hit Sunday, including three two-hit performances from Coyle, freshman Sami Faga and junior Kelsey Horton.
Sophomore hurlers Hannah Rogers and Morgan Montemayor started the game for the Gators and Bulldogs, respectively. Rogers went the distance for Florida, improving to 17-2 on the season, giving up just five UGA hits, one earned run, while walking three and fanning eight Bulldogs, her most since her March 7 outing at Mississippi State.
After Florida’s three-run fourth, the Dawgs exchanged Montemayor after 3.0 innings for Tess Sito, who worked an inning before senior Erin Arevalo came on to finish it out for the Bulldogs. Montemayor gave up three hits, two runs, one walk and tallied a strikeout, while Sito (7-1) succumbed to four Gator hits and two runs, while also walking one and shouldering the loss for UGA. Through the final 3.0, Arevalo also allowed four UF hits, two runs and walked one with four strikeouts.
Georgia jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second, capitalizing on a Gator defensive error that allowed Kristyn Sandberg to score from first, while adding one on a RBI double by Ashley Razey to work Ashley Pauly, who drew a one-out walk, around the bags and home for a 2-0 Bulldog advantage.
UF rallied for a three-run, four-hit fourth inning and for the second time this season, the Gators strung together consecutive homers through the splurge. Florida evened the game at 2-2, thanks to Coyle’s bomb, followed by Haeger’s long ball to lead off the top of the fourth, while a two-out shot from Gammel gave Florida the lead for good.
The Gators added an insurance run in the fifth after senior Michelle Moultrie reached on a leadoff free pass, while S. Fagan dropped a bunt single for two runners on and no outs. Coyle continued her stellar day, roping a RBI double down the left-field line before UGA made its second pitching change from Sito to Arevalo. Arevalo was effective, fanning two and forcing a pop out, but not before UF took a 4-2 lead.
Georgia threatened in the bottom of the fifth with bases loaded and no outs after a dropped third strike, a UGA base hit from Pauly and a Razey walk. The Bulldogs plated one on a Sandberg fielder’s choice that allowed Wilson to score, unearned, to narrow the UF margin to 4-3, but Rogers and the Florida defense rallied in the pressure situation for a fly out and another fielder’s choice for the final two outs of the frame.
The Gators added to their lead in the sixth, doing damage with two outs in the top of the frame, as sophomore Kasey Fagan reached on a two-out infield single to turn over the UF lineup. Georgia opted to intentionally walk Moultrie and S. Fagan made the Bulldogs pay with a two-out two-RBI double to the left-center wall that plated both Fagan and Moultrie to make it a 6-3 ballgame.