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Gators Host Rival FSU in Top 25 Showdown

The No. 5 Gators Softball team (13-0) will face their first top-25 opponent this weekend in a two-game series with No. 16 FSU (10-3). The two in-state rivals will play at 3:30 p.m. on Friday at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium and 6 p.m. on Saturday in Tallahassee.

The last time the two teams played on March 11 was the last game of the shortened 2020 season for both teams. The Gators prevailed 5-2 in the contest. This year, both teams have gotten off to great starts to their season.

Know Your Opponent

The Seminoles have dropped three of their first 13 games, but all three of those losses came to ranked opponents. They lost one to No. 24 Missouri and two to No. 15 Virginia Tech. But the Noles have won their last three after two wins against Florida Gulf Coast and a victory over Southeastern Louisiana.

Unlike the Gators, the Seminoles have played in-conference games already in the season, sporting a 4-2 ACC record to this point.

Elizabeth Mason leads Florida State at the plate with four home runs, 10 RBIs and a .350 batting average. In the circle, though, the Seminoles have been more vulnerable. FSU’s team ERA of 2.77 ranks eighth out of 13 teams in the ACC, with all three of their starters holding an ERA over 2.00.

The Seminoles especially shine, though, on the base paths. As a team, they’ve stolen 33 bases on 34 attempts. Their 2.54 stolen bases per game rank eighth in the NCAA, so they’ll definitely test Gators catcher Julia Cottrill this weekend.

Gators Recent Success

The Gators enter the weekend 13-0 after a 6-2 win over New Mexico State in a midweek matchup on Wednesday. The offense was clicking for Florida, with Jaimie Hoover and Hannah Adams hitting home runs in the win. But, the pitching for the Gators has been arguably more impressive.

Elizabeth Hightower earned the win Wednesday, pitching four innings and striking out five for her sixth win in eight appearances. In fact, the Gators haven’t allowed more than two runs in nine straight games. Several of those games ended in shutouts, as well.

Hightower, Katie Chronister, Rylee Trlicek and Natalie Lugo have combined for a 0.81 team ERA and limited opposing batters to a .137 batting average. The Gators team ERA ranks first in the SEC and fourth in the country.

The Matchup

The Gators and Noles have met 44 times. The Gators lead the series 27-17, but recently the series has been much closer. The teams have split their last six matchups 3-3.

Needless to say, the Gators will have to be at their best to remain undefeated on Sunday. First pitch is set for 3:30 p.m. on Friday, and the game will be broadcast on SEC Network. Saturday’s game will air on ACC Network Extra.

About Parker Fluke

I'm a third-year student at the University of Florida passionate about storytelling and sportswriting. My goal is to work in communications for a professional sports team after I graduate.

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