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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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One step away
June 8, 2024

Gators get the best of A&M, run-rule Aggies 8-0

Sophomore+left+fielder+Keeli+Milligan+was+the+only+Aggie+to+reach+base+multiple+times+against+Florida.
Photo by By Angel Franco

Sophomore left fielder Keeli Milligan was the only Aggie to reach base multiple times against Florida.

OKLAHOMA CITY – There’s a reason Florida is the top-seeded team, and the Gators (55-8) put on a clinic Thursday morning in a run-rule of Texas A&M in five innings, 8-0.
Florida’s pitching was precise and its hitting was hot, while the Aggies (47-12) were not.
“When you see the number one in front of our name, it says No. 1 Florida, you expect home runs and you expect a ton of hits every game,” Florida head coach Tim Walton said following the game. “But it just doesn’t happen.”
While Florida’s offense was not explosive, its slow and steady attack was the recipe needed to earn the opening round victory.
The Gators spun the Aggies in a death roll in the fourth, as Aleshia Ocasio sent a three-run homer off reliever Samantha Show just over the left centerfield fence to give Florida an eight-run advantage.
“I was just telling myself to stay on top of the ball,” Ocasio said. “The last pitch coach told me to choke up and I did and I think that really helped me with that hit.”
A&M showed signs of life in a must-score situation in the fifth, as Sarah Hudek and Show began the inning with back-to-back singles. Florida, however, was not in for playing more innings, as Ocasio turned a liner to third by Keeli Milligan into the game-ending double play, catching Hudek far off at second base to seal the victory.
Kelly Barnhill (25-3) was brilliant in the circle for the Gators, tossing 4.0 scoreless innings allowing just three hits while striking out five.
“Offensively, we kind of got a little tight,” Tori Vidales said of A&M’s approach at the plate. “We could have hit a few more pitches and not taken as many first pitch strikes.”
Florida flourished early, notching two runs in the bottom of the first. Janell Wheaton opened the scoring with a two-RBI single up the middle with the bases loaded, scoring Kayli Kvistad and Nicole DeWitt.
The Gators tacked on two more in the second on a two-out rally. Following a two-out single, Harrington walked back-to-back batters to load the bases. Nicole DeWitt then sent a two-RBI single up the middle, scoring Justine McClean and Amanda Lorenz.
“It’s mainly just getting those runs for Kelly because having the lead makes the pitcher feel better,” DeWitt said of establishing an early lead. “Then letting Kelly do her thing and not worry about having to be so pinpoint about everything.”
Florida continued to add to its lead in the third, again with two outs. Sophia Reynoso roped a single down the left field line, bringing home pinch-runner Katie Chronister from second. Keeli Milligan may have had a play at the plate, but the left fielder misplayed the ball, allowing Chronister to easily score.
Indeed, the Gators capitalized on the Aggies’ pitching staff’s off-day, which allowed six walks to just two strikeouts, as Florida found ways to extend at-bats and innings.
“We didn’t pitch as well as we’re used to. We got behind a lot of hitters, we had walks, we pitched from behind a bunch,” Evans said. “Florida is always good at discipline at the plate and taking free passes and they did that really well today.”
With the loss, A&M falls into the loser’s bracket and will play UCLA in an elimination game Saturday morning at 11:00 a.m.

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