Softball Takes Series with Tennessee

A senior Michelle Moultrie solo shot to straight-away center in the third inning would be the only run the No. 3/4 Gators would need Sunday afternoon to top the No. 9 Tennessee Lady Vols, 1-0, in Knoxville to take the series in front of a crowd of 1,713. After falling by the same 1-0 score Friday in the series opener, Florida returned with a 5-2 victory Saturday and a 1-0 win Sunday.

The Lady Vols (15-5, 1-2 SEC) out-hit the Gators (23-2, 4-1 SEC), 6-4, but the only hit that mattered Sunday was Moultrie's one-out solo shot over the center-field fence in the third inning, her sixth round-tripper of the year, that gave the Orange and Blue a 1-0 lead it wouldn't relinquish.

Florida used a duo of freshmen in the circle, as first-year Alyssa Bache (Clearwater, Fla.) earned the start in the series finale and worked the first 3.1 innings, allowing one hit, while walking one and striking out three, retiring six of the first eight batters she faced. Classmate Lauren Haeger (Peoria, Ariz.) came on in relief in the fourth in a one-out pressure situation with runners on second and third, walked the first batter to load the bases, but rallied for a fly out and ground out to get out of the jam.

Haeger went the final 3.2 innings to close out Sunday's game, allowing just two more Tennessee hits, while coming up with three strikeouts. The first-year righty improved to 7-1 on the season, while Tennessee starter Ellen Renfroe took her first loss of the year (11-1), limiting the Gators to just the one run on four hits. Renfroe walked five Gators and retired seven by strikeout.

The Gators have won three of the last four series with the Vols, having swept in Knoxville in 2008 and in Gainesville in 2009, while the two squads split a mid-week doubleheader in 2010. Last year, the Gators took three from the Lady Vols in Gainesville to win their fourth-straight SEC Eastern Division title, the fifth in school history.

Haeger connected for a base hit of her own for the Orange and Blue in the first inning for UF's initial hit of the day, while Moultrie and sophomore Kasey Fagan (Dunnellon, Fla.) accounted for UF's three other hits, as Fagan hammered out a 2-for-3 performance at the plate to lead the Gators with base hits in both the second and seventh frames.

The Gators return home for a mid-week doubleheader with Chattanooga Wednesday, March 14, before hosting their first home three-game conference series against South Carolina March 16-18 at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. First pitch against the Lady Mocs is 5 p.m. Wednesday, with the second game following a half hour after the conclusion of the first.

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