ATHENS, Ga. -- Lauren Haeger set the Florida and Southeastern Conference career home run records as the No. 2 Gators clinched their fifth consecutive SEC series victory on Saturday with 8-4 and 4-3 victories against No. 11 Georgia at Jack Turner Stadium. Haeger earned the win with a complete-game effort in Game 1 to move to 20-0 on the year, while Aleshia Ocasio (15-3) worked six-plus innings before yielding to Delanie Gourley, who earned her third save in the nightcap.
Florida put up four runs in the first inning of Game 1 on Haeger’s historic 65th-career homer. Kelsey Stewart and Nicole DeWitt singled before Kirsti Merritt was hit by a pitch to set the stage for Haeger, who launched a 2-1 pitch over the left-center field fence for a grand slam to give Florida a quick 4-0 lead. The Bulldogs answered with a three-run homer in the home half.
Georgia continued the scoring and tied the game in the third with a solo home run to center. The teams traded three scoreless frames before the Gators loaded the bases on three singles to start the seventh. DeWitt then pulled a go-ahead grand slam down the right field line to put Florida back in front 8-4, producing the final margin in the series-opening win for the Orange and Blue.
As in Game 1, Florida jumped out to an early lead in the second contest thanks to a home run. Merritt and Haeger both singled with two outs to bring up Bailey Castro for a three-run shot down the left field line. Both pitchers kept the opposition off the scoreboard from that point until the fifth inning, when Georgia cut the UF lead to 3-1 with a solo home run to left.
Kayli Kvistad reached on an error to lead off the seventh, and pinch-runner Jessica Damico scored two batters later on an RBI groundout by pinch-hitter Briana Little. Georgia hit back-to-back solo home runs to start the home half of the inning before Gourley entered and struck out the side to save the 4-3 win.