When Florida catcher Aubree Munro came to bat in the third inning against Alabama on Monday night, no player on either team had registered a hit.
As for Munro, she hadn’t hit a ball out since Feb. 14, when she hit home runs in both games of a doubleheader at the Easton Desert Classic. Those were her only home runs of the season.
But Munro lined one over the left field fence to jumpstart the Gators and show a rare burst of power. Munro had zero homers in 55 at-bats in 2013.
“This year has been important for me in terms of simplifying everything,” Munro said. “I haven’t been trying to hit home runs, I’ve been trying to make good contact, get the ball through the infield. I just saw my pitch today and was able to drive it out.”
ROGERS MAKES IT LOOK EASY
Florida ace Hannah Rogers (30-8) threw a complete seven innings in the Gators 5-0 win against Alabama on Monday, but it didn’t take all that much effort.
Rogers cruised through the game, throwing 80 pitches, 54 of which were strikes. She had three strikeouts and zero walks. She allowed four hits, but only one through the first four innings.
It was only the third time all season — and the first since Feb. 16 — the Crimson Tide has been shutout.
On the other side, Gator hitters made Alabama’s Jaclyn Traina (26-4) work. She threw 114 pitches in 61/3, 70 for strikes.
“That’s definitely the gameplan,” Florida coach Tim Walton said. “We want to make her throw deep into the count, we want her to make mistakes, but we also want to be aggressive. We’re patiently aggressive. If you throw first-pitch strike, we’re swinging.”
Traina and Rogers are the only two active SEC pitchers with more than 100 wins. They have pitched against each other since high school in Florida.
SWITCH TO ARMBAND HELPS ROGERS
Rogers and the Florida pitching staff switched to calling pitches with an armband system midway through the season, and it’s made a difference.
Rogers said the team thought it might be getting its signs stolen, so she suggested the Gators change up their call process. Now, Munro wears a wristband behind the plate with the calls and Rogers wears the same on her arm. Coaches generally call in the pitch, and both players have it, thus eliminating a step.
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