Jim Burgess / UAA Communications

#1 Florida sweeps Ole Miss in Oxford

The Florida Gators’ softball team improved to 38-3 with a three-game sweep of the Ole Miss Rebels.

Florida’s offense was the highlight of Friday night’s 8-0 win. Kirsti Merritt, Kayli Kvistad, Amanda Lorenz, and Aubree Munro all homered in the game.

SP Delanie Gourley picked up her eleventh win after only allowing two hits in the shutout.

“We hit the ball hard tonight and that was good to see,” head coach Tim Walton said after Friday night’s victory. “I thought Aubree, who hit her first homer of the season tonight, hit the ball hard where it was pitched. That was the key tonight; each ball we hit tonight was hit where it was pitched. And when we didn’t hit the ball where it was pitched, that was when we made some outs tonight.”

Saturday’s game was a bit closer, but Florida still won easily with a score of 6-1. The Gators’ offense put on a show in the first two innings by scoring five runs.

Taylore Fuller and Aubree Munro both had solo homeruns. Aleshia Ocasio started and finished the game to pick up her 13th win on the year.

Walton was upset, though, that his team couldn’t find much offense after the second inning.

“Obviously, our pitching staff has done a good job to be able to limit Ole Miss to just one run in two games,” Walton said. “I’d like to see us complete a game all the way from offense, to defense, to pitching. I’d like to see us get ahead early, sustain it, and put our opponent away.”

Sunday’s finale was a bit of a nail-biter for the Gators. Florida picked up the win with a score of 4-2.

The Gators came out strong in the first inning by going up 2-0 on a Lorenz homerun, but didn’t score again until the fifth inning. Ole Miss answered in the fifth with one run, which was enough to make the Gators replace starter Kelly Barnhill with Ocasio.

Kvistad homered in the seventh inning, and Ole Miss’ final efforts weren’t enough to force the game into extra innings.

Barnhill picked up the win to go to 14-0, and Ocasio earned her fifth save on the year.

“It was nice to see the middle of our lineup make some adjustments and do a good job for us today, and this whole weekend,” Walton said after the Gators completed the sweep. “I was really happy with Kayli [Kvistad] and Amanda [Lorenz], who have had a good season for us so far. They both delivered in the clutch this weekend.”

The Gators return to Gainesville to face Florida State on Wednesday April 13 at 7 p.m. The game will be televised on SEC Network.

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