All around the country, madness in college sports is coming early. It’s also coming on the softball diamond — not the basketball court.
Through Sunday, six top 10-ranked softball teams had lost this weekend. The No. 8-ranked Florida Gators were not one of them.
As part of a 13-game Bubly Invitational held in Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium, the Gators went 6-0 in their contests. Florida concluded their weekend action on Sunday afternoon with two wins. The Gators went on to run-rule Southeastern Louisiana 13-1 and white-knuckle a 2-1 win over FAMU.
Florida: 13, Southeastern Louisiana: 1
For the fourth game this season, the number of runs the Gators ran in was in double-digits.
Freshman Julia Cottrill took a bases-loaded stroll to first base to score Kendyl Lindaman for the Gators’ first run on Sunday morning. However, it was a three-RBI double from Jordan Roberts that blew the game wide open.
Winning 4-0 in the bottom of the first with just one out, there was still plenty of time for Cheyenne Lindsey to add more runs. And she did just that.
With a two-RBI single to right field, Lindsey scored Roberts and Jade Caraway to increase Florida’s lead to six.
Even with a 6-0 lead in the first inning, the Gators continued to pour on runs. Charla Echols shot a grounder out between first and second base to score Sophia Reynoso and Lindsey.
Echols’ two-RBI base hit to make it 8-0 came after a perfectly-placed bunt earlier in the inning. She would finish her outing against the Lady Lions 4-4 from the plate with three RBIs. Her final RBI came in the third inning to score Lindaman.
Echols continues to shine for the Gators since transferring from Michigan State. But she’s just glad she’s able to generate offense for her team:
Cottrill later dumped an RBI-double to score Echols for the Gators’ tenth run in the front half of the game.
The Lions’ lone run came from a solo-home run off of the bat of Kelci Bodin in the fourth inning.
Freshman Baylee Goddard tacked on the eleventh run after her bases-loaded hit-by-pitch stroll to first base advanced Hannah Adams across home plate.
Florida’s final two runs came off of the bats of Cottrill and Roberts to drive in Jordan Matthews and Echols.
In the five-inning win, over half of Florida’s at-bats resulted in hits (15 of 27). And a third of those hits were doubles. As a team, the Gators were struck out just three times against Southeastern Louisiana.
Defensively, freshman Rylee Trlicek picked up her fourth win from the circle. The Lone Star State lefty pitched four innings and picked up three strikes while giving up five hits in her outing.
Florida: 2, Florida A&M: 1
A leadoff home run from the Rattlers’ Jamesia Stoudemire in the top of the first inning had the first-base dugout juiced.
Stoudemire’s solo-shot banged against the roof of the Gators’ bullpen in left field to give FAMU a quick 1-0 lead over the Gators.
And though the home run marked the first time Florida had trailed in their six-game slate over the weekend, starting pitcher Elizabeth Hightower wasn’t fazed. Hightower would stand tall in the circle for four innings and pitch through 14 at-bats, six of which ended in strikeouts. She would also give up just one more hit in her outing and allow just one Rattler batter to take a free bag.
In comparison to the Gators’ first game, the bats were much quieter come game two on Sunday.
Florida amassed just six hits against the Rattlers. However, FAMU’s pitcher Nadia Zenteno threw more balls than strikes in her seven-inning outing.
Nonetheless, Florida’s lineup struggled to make solid contact. But Florida’s Tim Walton feels his Gators might be at fault:
In the bottom of the third inning, Florida’s leadoff hitter Hannah Adams finally got the Gators on the board with a solo-home run over the right-field wall, her first homer of her 2020 campaign.
The latter half of the third inning would be the only time the Gators scored. Jordan Roberts would knock in the winning run with a single up the middle to score Charla Echols.
The Gators continued to white-knuckle their one-run lead – much to the credit of Natalie Lugo who recorded her second save of the year.
In the final three innings of action, Lugo hurled 33 total pitches, 23 of which were called strikes. Over half (5 of 9) of Lugo’s at-bats ended in strikeouts, which was a significant improvement in comparison to the day prior.
On Saturday, Lugo got the start against NDSU. Despite going the distance, she only struck out seven batters with four of her strikeouts came in the final two innings.
Walton knows that he has a talent in Lugo when she comes out of the pen:
The Gators (11-1) return home to Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium on Wednesday night at 6 p.m. for a game against Jacksonville University.