For Florida’s softball team, when the fists are pumping, the runs aren’t far behind. At least that was the case as the No. 7-ranked Gators shutout the Auburn Tigers 6-0 in UF’s SEC opener on Friday night.
Twisting away from an erratic pitch, Florida’s Jaimie Hoover still felt the ball land squarely below her left shoulder. And though she initially grimaced at the pain, the senior pumped her fist as she trotted to first base in the bottom of the third inning.
As the inning progressed, Hoover accounted for the first run on the scoreboard as the Gators began to find their offensive rhythm midway through the game. Hoover’s run would end up being just one of six as Florida shutout the Auburn Tigers in game one of the Gators’ SEC opener.
One inning later, and the fists began pumping again. This time it was freshman Julia Cottrill who blasted a double off of her bat before throwing her fist towards the Gator dugout. Cottrill’s played a major role in sparking a crucial fourth inning for Florida’s lineup.
With a fired-up freshman standing on second, Cheyenne Lindsey would lift a high, risky bunt into play. However, Auburn’s field mishandled the bunt, allowing Lindsey to reach first base safely, as well as advancing Cottrill to the doorstep.
After Hoover poked a short hit out between the pitching circle and third baseline, redshirt senior Sophia Reynoso approached the plate with the bases loaded. Smacking a sac-fly out to centerfield, Reynoso would score E.C. Taylor (pinch-running for Cottrill) from third to give the Gators a two run lead.
Before the end of the fourth inning, Florida would tack on two more runs after a RBI-single from junior Hannah Adams to score Lindsey, followed by Hoover stealing home after the Tigers took the bait of Adams stealing second.
Trlicek shows up, shuts out
Cheers poured for Florida’s locker room as the Gators celebrated their young pitcher’s efforts after her first SEC victory.
Though Florida freshman Rylee Trlicek has already pitched in big games this season, Friday night’s game presented her with her first SEC outing, one in which she managed an ERA of 1.80.
And needless to say, the score speaks for itself. After going the distance, Florida’s southpaw gave up just three hits en route to the complete-game shutout. And while Trlicek only dished three strikeouts, her performance was exactly what Tim Walton wanted to see.
Lindsey’s rising stock
Florida sophomore Cheyenne Lindsey was burdened with an ACL tear as she started her college career at Florida. And any athlete who has ever endured such a significant injury knows that it’s a trying time.
As Florida’s Tim Walton recalls, Lindsey’s time away from the sport really tested her confidence.
But now, Florida’s centerfielder is becoming a force to be reckoned with. While Lindsey is strong and can undoubtedly have her way at the plate, her speed makes her that much more lethal.
In her performance on Friday against Auburn, the Chattanooga, Tennessee, native went 2-3 from the plate and showed her batting range in the process. One of Lindsey’s hits was a bunt, while the other was a triple that was roped down the first-base line towards the warning track.
And while her hits were polar opposites, her speed was the same: fast.
Don’t go far, because the Gators have a quick turnaround time. Florida (19-4, 1-0 SEC) will run it back with Auburn (14-9, 0-1 SEC) on Saturday at 6 p.m. You can catch game two of the series on SEC Network+.