SAN DIEGO -- Top-ranked Florida picked up two wins on Friday at the San Diego Classic I, defeating No. 2 Oregon in the first game by a 3-0 score and earning a 6-1 victory against Cal Poly in Game 2. Pitching set the tone for the Gators, as a masterful performance from Delanie Gourley and a crisp combined effort from Lauren Haeger and Aleshia Ocasio keyed the doubleheader sweep.
The showdown between the nation’s No. 1 and No. 2 teams was a pitchers’ duel between southpaws Gourley and Cheridan Hawkins. Florida started the bottom of the third inning with back-to-back doubles by Kathlyn Medina and Kelsey Stewart, and the Gators got on the board when the junior scored on a wild pitch to Haeger.
The Orange and Blue ran their lead to 3-0 in the sixth. Haeger reached on a two-base error to lead off before an RBI single to left by Bailey Castro that plated pinch-runner Jessica Damico. Justine McLean came in to run for Castro, moving up on a sacrifice bunt by Taylore Fuller before scoring on a throwing error by the Duck catcher.
Pitching near her hometown of Lakeside, Calif., Gourley dominated throughout the contest, allowing just five baserunners. The Ducks never had a runner advance past second base as Florida’s southpaw gave up only two hits, a fifth-inning double and a sixth-inning single.
The Gators broke a scoreless tie in the third inning of Game 2 when Briana Little led off with a hit-by-pitch and scored three batters later on an RBI single through the right side by Stewart. Florida’s momentum continued in the following frame, when one-out singles by Haeger and Castro set up a three-run home run to left by Fuller to raise the lead to 4-0.
The Mustangs had a leadoff walk in the fourth, and produced their first run of the game three batters later on a double down the right-field line. Kirsti Merritt led off the fifth with a double to center, and Fuller extended the UF advantage to 6-1 with her second home run of the game, a two-run shot to left-center.
Ocasio entered in the circle in the fifth, tossing three scoreless innings to save the 6-1 win for Haeger and complete Florida’s doubleheader sweep.