COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Top-ranked Florida won its 17th consecutive game and seventh consecutive Southeastern Conference series on Saturday with a 9-6 victory at No. 11 Missouri. Freshman Aleshia Ocasio worked 6.2 innings to improve to 16-3 on the season, while sophomore southpaw Delanie Gourley recorded the final out to stave off a Tigers comeback attempt and notch her fourth save.
Florida (49-4, 18-4 SEC) opened the scoring when Taylore Fuller led off the second inning with a home run. Missouri (37-13, 13-10 SEC) tied the game at 1 in the home half with a two-out RBI single.
The Gators broke out with four runs in the third to take a 5-1 lead. Kelsey Stewart drew a lead-off walk, advancing when Lauren Haeger reached on an error. Both runners moved up two bases on a passed ball before Stewart scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch. Kirsti Merritt followed with a double to left center to bring home Haeger before Bailey Castro launched a two-run home run to raise the Gators’ edge to four.
UF scored for a third consecutive inning in the fourth. Stewart hit a one-out single up the middle, advancing to third on Nicole DeWitt’s knock through the right side and then scoring on Merritt’s sacrifice fly.
The runs kept coming in the fifth as Castro hit her second home run of the game, a solo shot to left center that made the score 7-1. It was Castro’s second multi-homer game of the season and gave her 16 total homers for the season.
The Gators drew five walks in the sixth, the last two coming with the bases loaded to raise the UF advantage to eight. Two singles set up a three-run home run for the Tigers in the home half and cut the Florida lead to 9-4. A solo shot and an RBI single in the seventh made the score 9-6 before Gourley entered and induced a groundout to seal the victory.
Florida head coach Tim Walton earned his 200th-career SEC win, becoming the fifth active head coach to win 200 games in the league.