Starkville, Miss. -- Third-ranked Florida defeated Mississippi State 16-2 (5 innings) on Saturday in the second game of the teams’ three-game series at the MSU Softball Field. An 11-run first inning set the tone for the Gators, who secured a road series victory for the second consecutive weekend. Aleshia Ocasio worked the first three innings to earn the win, improving to 11-2 on the season.
Florida hit a first-inning home run for the second consecutive day as Kelsey Stewart launched a 3-1 pitch over the right-field fence to lead off the game. The momentum continued for the Orange and Blue (32-3, 5-3 Southeastern Conference) as UF finished the inning with 11 runs on five hits, drawing five walks and three hit-by-pitches. Eight of Florida’s nine starters reached base in the frame, with Nicole DeWitt (single and double) knocking a pair of run-scoring hits.
The Gators loaded the bases again with one out in the third before a walk to Stewart forced in Janell Wheaton, who had replaced Taylore Fuller for her second at-bat in the first inning. Kayli Kvistad drew another free pass with the bases loaded with two outs in the inning, scoring Justine McLean and making the score 13-0.
An RBI double to left-center in the bottom of the third produced the first run of the game for MSU (24-10, 4-7 SEC). Florida loaded the bases in the fourth when DeWitt singled, McLean reached on an error and Ocasio walked. That brought up Stewart, who singled to left to bring home the two California natives and raise the lead to 15-1.