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Gators win big on Senior Day

2485 days ago
Florida Athletics
Photo: Florida Athletics

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The University of Florida softball team took time to recognize three seniors, Chelsea Herndon, Justine McLean and Delanie Gourley prior to an 9-0 victory over North Texas at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.

All three Gator (48-5) seniors received starts and Gourley picked up her 17th win of the season in the circle after she threw 4.2 innings of shutout softball against the Mean Green (24-29).

The Florida offense picked up where it left off yesterday but found a different way to put itself into scoring position.

In the first inning, the Gators drew three-straight walks with one out to load the bases. Kayli Kvistad, Nicole DeWitt and Janell Wheaton each maintained their poise at the plate to load the bases for Aleshia Ocasio.

Ocasio picked up the first of her two hits on a single up the middle of the North Texas defense to score Kvistad and DeWitt. Meanwhile, Herndon drove in the third run on a grounder to Kelli Schkade at shortstop.

Gourley and the Gators defense made sure the 3-0 lead held up as she fanned five batters and scattered a trio of hits over the next 3.2 innings. Kelly Barnhill came in relief with two outs in the top of the fifth and the game tying run on deck. It took just four pitches to strikeout the Mean Green's best hitter, Schkade.

After the team exploded for five runs yesterday against North Texas in the fourth inning, the Gators produced six runs in the bottom of the fifth to secure the team's 14th mercy rule victory of the season.

Lorenz led off the inning with a solo home run to center field and was followed up by a single from Kvistad and an RBI double by DeWitt before the first out was ever recorded.

Ocasio drove in her third run of the game on a double and moved to third after an error by Danielle Gregory in left field. She later scored in the next at-bat on a RBI bunt single by Herndon that put the Gators ahead 7-0.

Freshman Jordan Roberts put the game away with her eighth home run of the season.

The Gators are set to wrap up the regular season tomorrow with a double header starting at noon against North Texas with a game against Florida A&M to follow.

Coaches Corner
On what makes this senior class so special... 
"It's not only their on the field success and the five championships that they've won since they've been here, but just the way they compete. All three always have smiles on their faces and all three of them do it right way in the classroom. They're all good kids, they have fun and they work hard, but I think the easiest thing I can see is they have a truly infectious positive personality." - Tim Walton

From the Seniors
On what's been the best experience over the past four years...
"Oh my gosh, the best one? I don't know, two National Championships, three SEC Championships and then some. The friendships, the family, the winning, the losing what you learn from that, just everything is cool. I just loved it." - Delanie Gourley

On how close you've become with Delanie and Chelsea over the years...
"We have been so close for the longest time. It was always been just me and Delanie committed here, then we added Chelsea, and she's the sweetest person ever. So just watching all of us grow over the four years and how close we've all been. We're such a small senior class, and we've shared so many memories. It's bittersweet, but I'm looking forward to the rest of the season." - Justine McLean

What is your biggest take away from the past four years...
"My biggest take away from the four years is probably that there are amazing people in this world, and this team is just so amazing. I have learned so much through softball, so many life skills, such as time management and other things like that. I've become more dedicated and have developed skills that not only will help me in softball but also in the real world. This program is just amazing, and it has taught me so many things." - Chelsea Herndon

• This year's senior class improved to 219 wins and just 31 losses over their four-year career.
• Delanie Gourley picked up her 17th win of the season and 61st of her career which ranks sixth all-time in the Florida record book.
• Kelly Barnhill pitched a third of an inning and picked up her third save of the season as North Texas had the tying run on-deck.
• Aleshia Ocasio produced her 10th multi-hit game of the year and her fourth multi-RBI game on the season. o The three RBIs tied her career-high she set against St. John's (2/11) earlier this season.
• Jacqui Switzer stole her team-leading 16th base of the season. o That ties her for 6th amongst all Florida freshmen.
• Today was the Gators 33rd shutout of the season, which is two more than last season. o In 2016, Florida finished the season with 31 total shutouts.