The Florida Gators Softball Team celebrates with Hannah Adams following her walk-off double against Jacksonville. (Kyle Fansler/ESPN Gainesville)

Adams Delivers Walk-Off in Gator Softball Home Opener

Hannah Adams got the first hit of the game with a double. Hannah Adams got the last hit of the game with a double. In what was a battle of outstanding pitching and fielding, the number five Florida Gator softball team beat the Jacksonville Dolphins 1-0 Wednesday at home courtesy of Hannah Adams.

Pitching Duel

Not many pitchers had a better opening weekend than Jacksonville’s Alyssa Bilodeau. In the Dolphins’ first two games of the season, she shut down the Boston College Eagles over her nine innings pitched. She rounded up 16 strikeouts throughout those nine innings.

Alyssa Bilodeau celebrates with her catcher Hallie Kern following one of Bilodeau’s six strikeouts against the Gators. Jacksonville would go on to lose the game 1-0. (Kyle Fansler/ESPN Gainesville)

She stayed red hot against Florida.

In her 138-pitch performance, she struck out six Gators, allowed nine hits, and just one run. In two instances, Florida loaded the bases, and Bilodeau wiggled her way out of the jam unscathed. Usually, statistics like those are enough to push your team towards a victory.

Florida’s Elizabeth Hightower threw 4.1 innings, struck out four Dolphins and only gave up two hits. One of those hits was a double to Jacksonville’s Kassidy Cross, putting a runner in scoring position who would eventually advance to third. Into the circle came Katie Chronister. The fifth-year Gator pitched the final 2.2 innings for the Gators, giving up one hit to go along with two K’s.

As seen in Bilodeau’s case, great pitching can put you on the edge, but it takes something in the batter’s box to provide a win.

Quiet night at the plate

Any time both teams’ pitchers are at their best, it would be a quiet night at the plate. Jacksonville did not score a lot in their opening series. In their two games, they scored a combined seven runs with only four extra-base hits.

It is a different story with the Gators. They pounded USF for a 15-run game in only five innings in the second game of their doubleheader, a day that saw them score a combined 21 runs over the two games.

A handful of things were against the Gators batting tonight. Bilodeau is an ace who can compete against the best in the country, a cold, windy night prevented many chances at extra-base hits and there were some incredible defensive plays made by the Dolphins in the field, particularly at shortstop and left field.

However, Tim Walton’s squad kept on withering down Jacksonville’s defense, just to the point when it mattered the most.

Dramatic ending

Chronister dealt with Jacksonville in her usual fashion in the top half of the seventh inning. A ‘simple’ 1-2-3 inning put the game in the Gators’ control.

The first batter of the inning was Cheyenne Lindsey. Lindsey, who made a remarkable catch in the first inning out in center field, is quick. A trait she used to her advantage by laying down a bunt on the first pitch of the at bat to put her on first without much contest.

The second batter was Hannah Adams. Adams opened the game with a double to center field, so how fitting is it that she closes it the same way. On the first pitch of her fourth at bat against Bilodeau, Adams decided she’d seen enough. The left-handed batter pushed the ball to left-center and hit the fence. A strong jump at first by Cheyenne Lindsey allowed her to get the all-clear to try for home. The throw came up left and late. For the fourth time in the past two seasons, Hannah Adams provided the Gators with a walk-off victory, this time coming in the home opener at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.

The Gators look to build on their third consecutive win to open the season when they host the Bubly Invitational this weekend. Up first, a Friday-night showdown with Georgia Southern at 6 p.m.

About Kyle Fansler

Originally from Seminole in the Tampa Bay area, Kyle is a contributor for ESPN Gainesville as well as local NPR and PBS affiliate WUFT. Kyle wants to get into sports with a lofty dream of being a sports broadcaster. He was raised playing soccer and baseball while watching hockey and football, so the knowledge about various sports is fairly extensive.

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