TAMPA, Fla. - The No. 2-ranked Florida softball team completed an unblemished opening weekend at the USF Wilson-DeMarini Tournament after it defeated UAB, 6-0, and USF, 14-3 (5), to improve to 5-0 on the season.
The Gators picked up their fourth shutout with the win over UAB and exploded for 14 runs behind 11 hits in the rout of USF. Jordan Matthews and Jaimie Hoover connected for a pair of home runs against the Bulls
UAB vs. No. 2 Florida | Final Score - W, 6-0
It took four innings before either team picked up their first hit in the first game of the final day of the USF Wilson-DeMarini Tournament. The Blazers were the first to do so as they struck for a trio of consecutive singles.
However, the string of hits didn't result in any runs being added to the scoreboard.
With runners on first and second and one out, Matthews fielded the last single and threw it on a line to Wheaton at home. The Blazer attempting to score tried to retreat to third, but Wheaton whipped the ball back to DeWitt who applied the tag for the second out.
The defense completely extinguished the treat via a ground ball out to Hannah Adams at second base.
Offensively, the Gators found their groove in the bottom of the fifth inning and went on to score six runs.
It started after a leadoff double by Wheaton to right center, then a fielding error on an infield pop up to the pitcher resulted in Jordan Roberts reaching base safely to put runners on with just one out.
Matthews pushed across Wheaton and Chronister, who entered to run for Roberts, to put the Gators on the board 2-0.
The freshmen continued to make an impact as Adams doubled down the left field line to score Sophia Reynoso and Alex Voss.
Florida plated the final two runs of the game on the backend of the fifth. Lorenz doubled to right center to score Adams and Aleshia Ocasio recorded an RBI bases load walk to bring the score to 6-0.
No. 2 Florida at USF | Final Score - W, 14-3
Much like the first game against the Blazers, the Gators scored in bunches. After falling behind 1-0 to the Bulls in the bottom of the second due to a solo home run from Macy Cook; Florida rallied in the top of the next inning for eight runs.
Despite two more USF runs, that's all Florida needed to secure its first true road win of the year.
The Gators continued to pour it on in the fifth, as Hoover extended the Florida lead out to 9-3 via her first home run of the season.
Ocasio kept the onslaught going with her two RBI single up the heart of the Bulldogs defense before Matthews capped the scoring with her three-run home run.
Florida returns to competition at home Wednesday, Feb. 14, against UNF at 6 p.m.
On closing out the weekend on with two strong performances...
"I'm really proud of our players for coming out today and playing hard, even though we were in a tight game and being down by a run at one time. I thought our at-bats improved as we moved through the day. So, I'm just really happy for the way that we got after that. I'm also proud of our team, especially the young players, for the way they came out and didn't skip a beat."
- The Gators improved to 4-0 in the all-time series against the Blazers after this afternoon's win.
- The last time the two teams met was Feb. 19, 2016 at the Diamond 9 Citrus Classic. Florida won 8-0 (5 innings).
- Florida has now won the last 13 meetings against the Bulls with the last meeting resulting in a 8-0 (5 innings) victory in Gainesville Mar. 22, 2017.
- Jaimie Hoover connected for her first home run of the season in the fifth inning against USF.
- Jordan Matthews put a charge into her second career home run in the win over USF. She ended the weekend with a .462 (6-for-13) batting average with 10 RBI and three runs scored.