The undefeated Florida Gators continued play in Orlando by taking on Fordham Rams and a rematch game against Ohio State Buckeyes.
The first game of the doubleheader was against Fordham, where Florida was considered the visiting team. After scoring only two runs on Friday night, the Gators responded with a nine-run outing, powered by Kelsey Stewart and Kristi Merritt.
Stewart led off the game with a hit, and she was quickly brought home by an RBI single from Lauren Haeger. In the top of the second inning Stewart singled again, and this time scored when Merritt hit a home run.
With a 3-0 lead in the fourth Justine McLean drew a leadoff walk, and Stewart’s triple batted her in. Fans in attendance may have thought they were experiencing déjà vu when Merritt stepped to the plate because she knocked her second hit out of the park, once again bringing Stewart home.
The Rams tried to make things interesting with a two run fourth inning, but that was as close as the game would be. Haeger lead off the seventh inning with a solo shot, After Jessica Damico walked, Stephanie Tofft followed Haeger’s lead with a bomb of her own.
Freshman Delanie Gourley (six hits, one earned run) picked up the win and is now 6-0 as a Gator.
The second half of the doubleheader began when Bailey Castro earned an RBI hit by pitch in the bottom of the first, but the Buckeyes quickly tied the game. Haeger’s solo homer in the bottom of the third broke the tie and was the first hit in the game for Florida. Haeger’s home run did have some controversy, however. It appeared she was hit by a pitch earlier in the at-bat, but the umpire wouldn’t send her to first. Haeger made the Buckeyes pay by hitting the solo shot. She blew the game wide-open with a grand slam in the fifth. The Gators went up 8-1 before the inning was over.
A final run in the seventh inning sealed the 9-1 victory and moved Florida to 19-0 on the season. Haeger (6-0) got the win for the Gators and Hannah Rogers earned the save, her first of the season.
The Diamond 9 Citrus Classic concludes tomorrow with another doubleheader against Maryland (10:00) and Radford (noon).