March 18, 2012
by Koby Padgett
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - No. 4 Florida (26-2, 7-1 SEC) secured a 7-3 win over South Carolina (19-12, 2-6 SEC) in front of a weekend-best 1,218 fans at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.
The Gamecocks made things interesting in the final frame, getting a one-out double to left from senior centerfielder Lauren Lackey. Senior third baseman Evan Childs followed by driving the first pitch off the netting protecting the scoreboard in left center for a two-run homer. It's Childs's ninth homer of the year and was just the second allowed by Gator ace Hannah Rogers (14-1).
Florida got the scoring started in the first but were limited thanks to a Gamecock outfield assist. Sami Fagan drew a leadoff walk and moved to third on an errant throw by the Gamecock starting pitcher on Moultrie's tapper back to the circle. Haeger singled to left to score Fagan from third easily, but SC's senior leftfielder Kaitlin Westfall fired home to gun down Moultrie and limit the damage.
The Gators made it 4-0 in the third thanks to two homers, a solo shot by Haeger and a two-run blast by Cheyenne Coyle.
South Carolina got a run back in the fourth when Westfall doubled down the left field line over the glove of the Gator third baseman, scoring junior pinch runner Hannah Milks from second. Milks replaced redshirt senior Kaela Jackson after her single and moved into scoring position on sophonmore second baseman Dana Hathorn's sacrifice.
Two more Gator runs came across in the bottom of the fourth, as Fagan tripled home Jess Damico after she started the frame with a single. Moultrie brought in Fagan with her liner to deep left. Haeger doubled home Fagan in the sixth after the leadoff hitter doubled to start the inning, making it 7-1 Gators.
Rogers took the win for the Gators, tossing four innings in relief, giving up three earned runs on seven hits and two walks. She fanned one. Gamecock freshman Katelynn Howser (8-3) was charged with the loss, allowing five runs, four earned, on seven hits and three walks while striking out two.
Childs and Lackey both went 2-for-4 with a run scored for the Gamecocks, with Childs adding the homer and Lackey with the double. Westfall also had a double and an RBI on the day. Lackey extended her hitting streak to a personal-best 14 games. Haeger went 3-for-4 with three RBI to lead the Gators, while Fagan scored three times in her 2-for-3 day.
South Carolina heads to Chapel Hill for a battle against North Carolina on Wednesday afternoon. First pitch is set for 5 p.m.
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