GAINESVILLE, Fla. - The Florida softball team blazed its way to a pair of victories over Maryland, 7-2, and Illinois State, 10-1, on the first day of the Aquafina Invitational at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.
Jordan Roberts and Kayli Kvistad tallied the first two home runs at KSP Stadium this season in the victory over the Redbirds in the final game of the day.
The Gators (12-1) wasted no time to plate their first runs of the game against Maryland (3-8). After a leadoff walk by Hannah Adams and a fielding error allowed Nicole DeWitt to reach on a bunt attempt, Amanda Lorenz belted a double off the left field wall to score the duo for the first runs.
Kvistad plated Lorenz via her second SAC fly of the season to give Florida a 3-0 lead.
After the Terrapins struck for a run in the top of the third, the Gators responded in the bottom of the frame. Back-to-back single from Kvistad and Janell Wheaton followed up by a walk from Roberts loaded the bases with one out.
Sophia Reynoso sent a tapper back to Ryan Denhart in the circle, which she then flipped back to home for the second out. Senior Aleshia Ocasio provided pinch-hit SAC fly to left to score Wheaton from third and extend the Florida lead to 4-1.
Florida tacked on three more in the fourth to take a 7-1 lead over Maryland. A pair bases loaded RBI walks from Wheaton and Roberts followed by an RBI groundout from Sophia Reynoso accounted for the damage in the inning.
Maryland picked up its second run of the game in the top of the fifth. Hannah Eslick hit a solo home run down the left field line for the lone run of the inning.
Kelly Barnhill (5-0) threw her third complete-game of the season and struck out nine en route to the victory.
The Gators served as the visiting team in the Aquafina Invitational's nightcap against Illinois State (4-8).
Jordan Matthews put Florida ahead 1-0 in the top of the first inning with her RBI single that scored DeWitt.
Illinois State bounced back to tie the game 1-1 in the bottom of the second via a bases loaded walk issued by starter Katie Chronister.
Ocasio relieved Chronister with one out in the bottom of the third after 2.1 innings pitched. The Gainesville, Fla. native faced 12 batters on 47 pitches in the contest.
The long ball came into play in the fourth and fifth innings for the Gators. Roberts belted a two-run home run in the fourth to extend the lead out to 3-1 and Kvistad broke the game wide open in the fifth with her grand slam that pushed the lead out 8-1.
Prior to the grand slam, Matthews notched a bases loaded RBI single that scored Adams. The scoring in the fifth ended with the combination of a failed pickoff and a wild pitch gave Florida an eventual 10-1 lead.
Ocasio picked up the victory in the circle with 1.2 quality innings pitched and improved to 5-1 on the season.
The Gators return to action tomorrow with games against Maryland at 2 p.m. and Iowa State at 4:30 p.m.