The fifth-ranked Gators softball team dominated the Florida A&M Rattlers 19-3 in five innings Wednesday. With a season-high 19 runs, the 16-run difference tied the 7th largest margin of victory in UF history. Freshman Natalie Lugo (2-0) pitched 4.1 innings in her second start, striking out seven batters. In a game where every active Gator but reigning SEC Pitcher of the Week Kelly Barnhill played, 10 of 16 batters finished with at least an RBI.
A “Real” Team Effort and a Big Second Inning
Although every game is a team effort, a 17-batter, 12-run second inning allowed Head Coach Tim Walton to rotate his players for the rest of the game. Between Florida A&M pitchers Veroni Burse and Kyaira Brown, the Rattlers allowed 15 runs and eight hits through two innings. Burse walked five batters, including left fielder Amanda Lorenz. Lorenz has reached base safely in all 45 games this season.
Two errors in the second inning resulted in two runs since Nicole DeWitt and Kayli Kvistad were able to reach base safely. Kvistad, who singled to the pitcher, reached second base because first baseman Ton Anderson dropped the catch at first and overthrew a throw to second base. DeWitt, who reached first because of an error at second base, was able to score. Brown pitched the remainder of the game, giving up home runs to Jordan Roberts and Jaimie Hoover in the third inning. Josie Page pinch hit for Hannah Adams, recording her first collegiate hit with a single and first run.
Kayli Kvistad says it’s awesome that players were able to take advantage of opportunities hitting.
Lugo entered the top of the fifth inning with a no-hitter and perfect game. She lost a perfect game after walking right fielder Alexis Day in a 12-pitch at-bat. Sophomore left-handed pitcher Katie Chronister relieved Lugo at the top of the fifth inning, losing a combined no-hitter by allowing three singles and giving up two more runs. Chronister would strike out center fielder Jamesia Stoudemire to end the game.
Natalie Lugo says that she was focused on her pitching because the ability of her teammates helps relieve the pressure on the mound.
Head Coach Tim Walton was happy about the ability to rotate players and avoid any issues in a makeup game.
When asked about Barnhill, Walton says it never crossed his mind about giving her an at-bat.
Florida head back on the road to take on No. 19 Mississippi State (33-12, 6-9 SEC) in a three-game series. The Gators are 33-19 all-time against the Bulldogs and swept them in their last series in April 2016. Starting pitcher Emily Williams (5-0) was on the mound in the Bulldogs 3-1 win against the Memphis Tigers on April 17.