No. 5 Gators rally, hand USF softball 6th straight loss
TAMPA -- USF's Sara Nevins had a one-hitter and a 1-0 lead with two outs in the sixth, but No. 5 Florida rallied with three clutch hits, including a two-run home run from Lauren Haeger for a 3-1 victory before an announced crowd of 1,611 at USF Softball Stadium.
The Bulls (6-9) came in having been shut out four games in a row over the weekend, but the scoreless streak ended at 31 innings when Kenshyra Jackson led off the fourth with a solo home run. Florida (17-1) tagged Nevins for three straight hits -- a double by Kelsey Stewart, a game-tying single by Kirsti Merritt, then Haeger's shot to right-centerfield.
"We had some good at-bats. That's the name of the game when you're facing two great pitchers, two All-Americans," said Gators coach Tim Walton, who saw starter Hannah Rogers improve to 8-1. "It's not about how many hits you get, how many strikeouts you have, it's being able to get that clutch hit and score from second base."
Nevins (2-3) struck out eight batters and was visited on the mound after Stewart's double by USF coach Ken Eriksen, who let her stay in the game. The Bulls, who reached the College World Series last summer, have lost six in a row.
"Theirs fell and ours didn't. That's one thing you can say about our game tonight," said Eriksen, whose team stranded runners at second and third in the second and third innings. "It's about one or two hits away from being 5-, 6-0. There are things we're battling right now, but you have to give the pitcher on the other team a lot of credit."