Top-ranked Florida sweeps Saturday series with Illinois State and Kansas
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Led by a nine-RBI day from Lauren Haeger and 16 strikeouts from its pitching staff, Florida won both games of a doubleheader at the Aquafina Invitational, defeating Illinois State, 4-1, and Kansas, 7-1.
Aleshia Ocasio threw a one-hit complete game against the Redbirds, striking out five and issuing no walks, while Haeger and Delanie Gourley combined to hold Kansas to one run on six hits with three walks and 11 strikeouts.
Both offenses were quiet in the first game outside of the fifth inning, when ISU broke a scoreless tie with a solo home run to left-center that marked the first hit of the contest. Florida bounced back in the home half of the inning when Ocasio singled, Justine McLean reached on a fielder’s choice and Kelsey Stewart lined a base hit through the right side to set up a three-run home run to left-center from Haeger. The Gators’ momentum continued as Bailey Castro followed Haeger with a solo homer of her own down the left-field line to raise the lead to 4-1.
Ocasio held the lead with a perfect sixth and seventh innings, sealing the Game 1 win.
Florida and Kansas traded zeros through two innings in the second game before the Gators broke through with three runs in the third. Kathlyn Medina singled and Kelsey Stewart drew a walk to set the table for Haeger, who helped her own cause with a three-run home run to right-center.
The Orange and Blue extended their lead in the fourth, loading the bases on a single by Kayli Kvistad, a walk by Aubree Munro and another base hit by Medina. Kirsti Merritt then drew a walk to force in a run before Haeger cleared the bases with a single to left-center, increasing Florida’s advantage to 7-0.
A pair of singles produced a run for Kansas in the fifth, closing the UF lead to six. That was as close as the Jayhawks would get as Haeger and Gourley held the visitors to one hit over the final two innings as the Orange and Blue finished off a 7-1 victory.