Florida starting pitcher Delanie Gourley throws Saturday against Missouri at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. Gourley one-hit the Tigers en route to a 6-0 win.
Gators set tone to open SEC play
Third-ranked Florida put up six runs in the third and fourth innings and senior left-hander Delanie Gourley did the rest, shutting out No. 24 Missouri on just one hit as the Gators won their SEC opener, 6-0, before a Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium crowd of 1,663 Saturday.
Leadoff batter Amanda Lorenz led a nine-hit UF attack, going 3-for-4 with two singles and a double as the Gators won their 13th straight game while improving to 21-1 on the season. Missouri, meanwhile, fell to 11-9 and 0-1.
“I just tried to set a good tone,” Lorenz said. “I really like leading off the game and getting it going for my team, especially with our pitchers working so hard. I really wanted to get the game started on a good note just to feed positive energy back to our team.”
Gourley (9-1) retired the Tigers in order through the first five innings before pinch-hitter Regan Nash reached on an error to open the sixth.
Gourley retired the next three Missouri batters to carry a no-hitter into the seventh, but, following a leadoff walk to Amanda Sanchez, shortstop Braxton Burnside ended the no-hit bid with a double off the top of the center field fence to put runners on second and third with no outs.
But Gourley kept the shutout intact by getting a ground out to short with neither runner advancing, then recorded her 10th strikeout before retiring Chloe Rathburn on a soft liner to shortstop Sophia Reynoso to finish things off.
“I really wanted to come out and set a good tone,” Gourley said. “It's easy to do with a team like this. I have so much fun, and our chemistry is just unreal.”
Missouri starter Madi Norman (6-4), who was pulled in the fourth inning, took the loss.
After opening the game with back-to-back singles only to come away scoreless, UF sent nine batters to the plate in the third inning and combined three hits with three walks to score four times. Florida added two more runs in the fourth, and that was more than enough for Gourley.
“We were sharp,” UF coach Tim Walton said. “I thought we came out ready to play, and I think Delanie did a nice job of setting the tone early in the game and early in the count. Overall, we swung the bat pretty well and did a good job of hitting for six innings.”
Janell Wheaton had two RBIs to pace UF, while Lorenz, Jamie Hoover, Nicole DeWitt and Jordan Roberts each had one.
The teams play the second game of the three-game series Sunday at 6 p.m.
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