Between innings, Florida’s second baseman Hannah Adams and her shortstop counterpart Sophia Reynoso soft-tossed balls of clay at each other, while the other tried kicking them into the air.
“Today was the first day we’ve ever done that. Sophia probably (is better at kicking the balls of clay), I missed a couple today,” Adams said between laughs. “Usually we throw them at each other, we don’t try to kick them, we just throw them at each other when we’re not looking. But yeah, I think always having fun and keeping it loose on the field is important.”
The Gators’ antics came in handy on Tuesday afternoon as they hosted a midweek matinee against the Pennsylvania Quakers.
After a top-10 crowd on Sunday for the series finale against Auburn, just over 500 fans made their way to Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium on Tuesday to watch the No. 7 Gators top the Quakers 3-1.
Adams and Reynoso’s mid-inning charades almost seemed necessary to keep the Gators on their toes in what seemed like a lackadaisical matchup.
Lindaman, Adams wake the beast
Forty-three of Florida’s runs this season have come in the first inning. That’s more runs than the Gators have in the second and third innings combined.
However, Florida’s first inning against Penn was nothing like those of the past.
Instead of amassing hits and runners making a carousel out of the bases, the Gators relied on a single-shot home run from Kendyl Lindaman to draw first blood.
According to Lindaman, Jennifer Brann was looking for an outside chase when she sent the ball out of the yard.
Following Lindaman’s sixth home run of 2020, getting on base was a rarity for the Gators. As the game progressed, no base runners were scored by Florida’s lineup. Instead, two home runs off of the bat of junior Hannah Adams forced some separation between the Gators and Quakers.
All season long, Adams has continually stepped up. According to Tim Walton, this is credited to her growing confidence.
With her two home runs, not only did Adams double her number of home runs on the season, but she also notched the first multi-home run performance of her career.
Looks like her and Reynoso’s antics worked.
Hightower, Lugo keep Penn at bay
Lindaman’s homer in the first inning, followed by Adams lifting one in the third inning, gave sophomore righty Elizabeth Hightower the space needed to navigate through Penn’s lineup.
In four innings of action, Hightower improved to 4-0 this season. En route to her fourth win, she sent five members of the Quaker lineup back to the dugout after striking them out. Hightower allowed just one run on two hits and managed an ERA of 2.55.
The Quaker’s lone run came in the fourth inning after Penn’s Bella Fiorentino lifted a sac-fly out to centerfield, allowing Sarah Schneider to cross home plate.
In relief, junior Natalie Lugo entered the circle in the fifth inning. Lugo kept Penn at bay, matching Hightower’s strikeouts with five. The junior righty gave way to two hits and walked one batter.
Following Florida’s lackluster midday matchup, the Gators (22-4, 3-0 SEC) will host in-state rival Florida State on Wednesday night.
The energy and emotions on Wednesday night are bound to be amplified when the No. 12-ranked Seminoles come to town for the Sunshine Showdown.
The Gators and the ‘Noles get underway from Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium at 6 p.m.