Passed ball helps Florida beat Ole Miss in softball

Kayli Kvistad hits for the Gators on Thursday night.
Staff Writer

Florida couldn’t get the big hit it needed on Thursday night at the Southeastern Conference Softball Tournament.
Luckily for the Gators, they didn’t need to.
Florida scored its lone run on a passed ball in the fifth inning to top Ole Miss 1-0 at Nusz Park. The victory pushes the Gators into the semifinals of the SEC Tournament.
After being shut out for four innings by Ole Miss starting pitcher Madi Osias, Florida finally got to the senior hurler in the fifth. Kelsey Stewart led off the frame with a double and took third on an error. Amanda Lorenz and Kayli Kvistad each followed with walks to load the bases. Though Kirsti Merritt then struck out for the first out of the inning, Stewart scampered home when an Osias pitch to Nicole Dewitt wasn’t handled cleanly by Rebels catcher Courtney Syrett. On a close play at the plate, Stewart’s foot just beat the tag of Osias, who was covering home.
“I anticipated (Stewart) to be there a little quicker than she was, so when I turned around, I was expecting it to be a bang-bang play and she wasn’t there yet,” Osias said. “I double clutched and she was definitely safe. It was a good call by the umpire.”
For more on the Gators, see the story by Starkville Daily News sports writer Joel Coleman in Friday's newspaper. Sports editor Danny P. Smith has recaps on Tennessee-South Carolina and LSU-Kentucky in Friday's edition also.