Nicole DeWitt waited.
She didn’t wait long, maybe a quarter of a second. But it was long enough for the left-handed third baseman to drive a 1-0 pitch to the opposite field and over the fence, giving Florida a 2-0 lead with one out in the sixth inning in their first game of a double header against Louisiana.
DeWitt led the team with two home runs and four RBI, as the Gators (8-0) picked up two shutout victories, 4-0 and 9-0, over the Ragin’ Cajuns (6-2) in Lafayette’s Lamson Park on Saturday night.
“I don't think we played our cleanest, or our best, ball of the season,” UF coach Tim Walton said in a release. “They (Louisiana) had a really great crowd, had great energy and they did some nice things defensively as a team.”
After DeWitt’s home run, first baseman Kayli Kvistad reached on a walk and designated player Jordan Matthews grounded out to first to make it two outs.
Catcher Janell Wheaton then stepped to the plate. Behind in the count 1-2, the senior pulled a fastball down the left-field line. The ball crept over the wall just inside fair territory, as Wheaton matched DeWitt with a two-run homer of her own and marked the seventh time this season UF has posted four or more runs in an inning.
Before DeWitt and Wheaton’s sixth inning home runs, the Gators needed to come up with defensive plays to keep the Ragin’ Cajuns off the scoreboard.
In the bottom of the first inning with one out, Louisiana shortstop Alissa Dalton singled to right field with teammate Brittany Rodriguez on second. Rodriguez, one the Ragin’ Cajuns’ speediest players, tried to come around and score, but right fielder Jaimie Hoover threw her out at home to keep the game scoreless.
Louisiana also posted runners on second and third with one out in the bottom of the third.
Wheaton committed Florida’s first defensive error of the season on a throw to second, advancing the stealing Kelli Martinez to third.
However, pitcher Kelly Barnhill retired the next two batters to close the inning. After escaping the third, Barnhill retired 12 of the next 13 hitters, capturing UF’s sixth shutout of the season.
Florida took its momentum from the afternoon victory into its evening matchup with Louisiana.
After Ragin’ Cajuns pitcher Carrie Boswell loaded the bases in the start the first inning, catcher Jordan Roberts singled to left field, scoring DeWitt and Kvistad.
Hannah Adams then walked to load the bases again, and pitcher Aleshia Ocasio drove in Matthews and reached on a fielder’s choice to extend the lead to 3-0. One batter later, Louisiana first baseman Kourtney Gremillion couldn’t field a Sophia Reynoso ground ball cleanly, allowing Roberts to score and allowing another four-run Florida inning.
In the top of the fourth inning, DeWitt belted another two-run home run, this time to right field.
And with a committee in the top of the sixth inning, Louisiana walked five straight batters and allowed a sacrifice fly to push the game into run rule territory, 9-0.
Ocasio pitched the Gators to their seventh shutout in eight total games. The senior got her fourth victory of the season, throwing 72 pitches in six innings with six strikeouts and only four hits.
“Overall I was pleased with the two wins, but we are definitely going to have to play better tomorrow," Walton said.
A release from floridagators.com contributed to this article.