GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Briana Little’s historic three-homer, nine-RBI game powered No.1 Florida to a doubleheader sweep of Mercer on Sunday. The Gators (16-0) totaled 30 runs and 10 home runs in their two wins against the Bears, winning by scores of 20-3 (five innings) and 10-3.
Kelsey Stewart led off Game 1 with a triple to left center, and Lauren Haeger got the Gators on the board two batters later with a two-run home run. Bailey Castro followed the homer with a walk and then came home on an RBI double by Taylore Fuller, who was thrown out trying to stretch the hit into a triple. Taylor Schwarz then walked to set up Little’s first homer, a two-run shot that extended the UF lead to five.
Mercer had a run-scoring single in the bottom of the first, cutting the margin to 5-1. Kirsti Merritt was hit by a pitch in the second, then stole second and started a two-out rally when she scored on an RBI single down the left field line by Castro. With the bases loaded following a walk to Haeger and a hit-by-pitch from Fuller, Little hit a grand slam to left center to make the score 11-1 in favor of the Gators.
A single by Aleshia Ocasio and a double by Schwarz brought Little to the plate with one out in the third, and the senior outfielder hit her third home run of the day, a towering shot to left that raised the score to 14-1. Florida added six more runs in the fifth, highlighted by a grand slam from Janell Wheaton and a solo shot by Kathlyn Medina.
Mercer scored one run on a single and two on an error in the final frame, producing the deciding margin in Game 1 of the twinbill.
After each team turned a double play in the first inning of Game 2, Kayli Kvistad opened the scoring in the bottom of the second with a solo home run to right-center. Later in the frame, Stewart’s base hit up the middle plated Schwarz.
Little reached on an error to lead off the third before Castro walked. That brought up Kvistad, who homered for the second consecutive inning to push the Florida lead to 5-0. Schwarz singled following Kvistad's second blast, moving up two bases on Aubree Munro’s sacrifice bunt. After Ocasio drew a free pass, Stewart singled to center to score the first baseman.
A leadoff triple in the fourth led to Mercer’s first run of the game. The Bears capitalized on a Florida miscue later in the inning, adding two more tallies on a single to center and cutting the deficit to 6-3. The Orange and Blue loaded the bases in the bottom of the frame, increasing their lead back to four when pinch-runner Francesca Martinez came home on a wild pitch.
Castro drew a lead off walk in the sixth, and Schwarz hit a two-run home run to left two batters later to make the score 9-3 in favor of Florida. After a foulout, Ocasio cranked a solo shot of her own to the same area, raising the lead to seven and producing the final margin in the Gators’ 10-3 win.