#1 Softball Wins Series Opener Over Spartans

GAINESVILLE, Fla. - The No. 1/3 Gator Softball team shut out the Michigan State Spartans, 8-0, in five innings Friday night in the first of a three-game weekend series between the two squads. The Gators (7-0) rallied for back-to-back home runs against the Spartans (1-5) in the bottom of the fourth to help propel Florida to its fifth shutout and fifth run-rule contest of the 2012 season.

Florida connected for a season-high 14 hits against Michigan State, topping its 11 against Illinois State during the season-opening tournament in Tampa. Eight of nine Gators in UF's batting lineup connected for at least one hit, while five student-athletes had two or more. Junior Brittany Schutte (Fountain Valley, Calif.) led the Orange and Blue with a 3-for-3 performance, one RBI and one run scored.

Freshman Lauren Haeger (Peoria, Ariz.) accounted for four of UF's eight runs, drilling a RBI single up the middle in her first at-bat and sending UF's first sac fly of the season to left field to plate senior Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) for a run in the third inning to take the Gators up early, 2-0. Haeger then smashed her first homer at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium, a two-run bomb in the fourth that contributed to a five-run fourth inning for the home team.

Haeger's freshman counterpart Sami Fagan (Dunnellon, Fla.) started the fourth off by knocking in UF's first run of the inning, while Moultrie followed with her second triple of the season to bring Fagan home, extending the Gator lead to 4-0. Next up, Haeger's two-run shot gave UF a 6-0 advantage, while Schutte made it back-to-back bombs on a first-pitch shot following a Spartan pitching change for a 7-0 lead before a pop up ended the scoring splurge.

Sophomore Kasey Fagan (Dunnellon, Fla.) sealed the deal for the Gators with UF's eighth RBI in the bottom of the fifth, sending freshman Katie Medina (Downey, Calif.) across home. Medina finished the night 2-for-2 with two runs, while Fagan was 1-for-2 with the final RBI that enforced the run-rule.

Sophomore ace Hannah Rogers (Lake Wales, Fla.) got it done for the Gators in the circle with the second complete-game one-hitter of her career, fanning four and allowing just one walk through five innings. Cassee Lane picked up her first loss of the season for Michigan State after allowing 10 hits and six Gator runs with no strikeouts through the first 3.2 innings. Shelby Wise finished off the game for the Spartans, facing UF's final six batters.

Michigan State leadoff hitter Lori Padilla tallied the lone hit for the Spartans in the first at-bat of the game, while the Spartans' defense was off to a hot start with two turned double plays in the first and second innings to limit UF's scoring through the first two frames.

The second game of the series kicks off at 1 p.m. from Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. Follow the Gators on Twitter @GatorZoneSBall or tune in locally on the radio at 104.9 FM - 105 The Game - with the call by Adam Schick and former Gator All-American Megan Bush.

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