There’s a first time for everything. And Tuesday afternoon’s matchup between No. 7-ranked Florida and Pennsylvania marks the first time in history that the two softball teams will share the same dirt.
Continuing on with their homestand, the Gators are seeking their 22nd win of 2020 — and their 13th win from Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. The Gators and the Quakers will get things going at 2 p.m.
Scouting the Quakers
Penn (7-5) will enter Gainesville after a two-game skid. The Quakers have enjoyed the Florida sunshine in recent days as they competed in The Spring Games in Longwood, Florida. There, the Quakers went 2-3, picking up wins over Saint Louis and Detroit Mercy. Penn rounded out their slate in Longwood with back-to-back losses to No. 12 Florida State and Cleveland State.
However, despite the loses, three members of Penn’s roster picked up Ivy League Conference honors.
Penn outfielder Kayla Ketring picked up Ivy’s Player of the Week honor after her 8-for-20 performance at the plate. The junior also plated two runs and reached safely in five of six games this week.
Meanwhile, Jennifer Brann, Penn’s senior pitcher, was recognized as the Pitcher of the Week. Brann started in all three of the Quakers’ wins this week and struck out 17 in the process. In her performance against Detroit Mercy, Brann tallies nine Ks.
Finally, freshman Bella Fiorentino rounded out Penn’s sweep of Ivy’s weekly honors with a Freshman of the Week pick-up. Fiorentino posted successful appearances at the plate as she finished the week with a .444 batting average. The freshman also hit her first home run, while tallying five RBIs.
As a lineup, the Quakers’ heads are above the water with a .310 average. Kayla Ketring leads Penn in hits with 13 and has only struck out five times through 34 at-bats. From the circle, the Quakers are led by Jennifer Brann, who has carried the load for Penn with 35 innings-pitched. With an ERA of 1.40, Brann has given up 30 hits while holding batters to a .226 average.
If Penn wants to escape Gainesville with an upset, the Quakers will not only need to best the Gators, but they’ll also need to crack Florida’s momentum.
After giving up the series to then-No. 10 Louisiana-Lafayette, Florida has rebounded well. Overall, the Gators’ bats have made a lot of noise in 2020, thanks in part to a concerted effort from Tim Walton and Florida’s coaching staff.
Since “retooling” the lineup’s approach, the Gators have hit .321 on the year with a .432 on-base percentage, all while amassing 203 hits. By the end of the 2019 season, the Gators were hitting just .264.
In Florida’s most recent game, the Gators knocked the ball around well — really well. In the series finale against Auburn, the Gators hit .565. Whatever Walton and his staff are doing, it’s working.
Meanwhile, the Gators’ pitching staff is consistently making strides. Freshman lefty Rylee Trlicek is coming off of a historic weekend inside the circle. Becoming the first ever freshman pitcher to pitch a shutout in the SEC Opener, Trlicek is giving Walton some good impressions.
Catch the action
The timing of Florida’s matchup against Penn is an odd one. Nonetheless, the game will be broadcasted on WGGG (92.1 FM/1230 AM) and WMOP 100.1 (FM/900 AM) for listeners to be kept up to speed. Tune in at 2 p.m. for the action.