Charla Echols celebrates with her teammates after her first of two home runs against Kennesaw State. (Photo: @GatorsSB Twitter)

Gator Softball Tops Kennesaw State on Charla Echols’ Multi-Home Run Game

The Florida softball team (15-1) won 10-2 over the Kennesaw State Owls (6-10) in a six-inning game that ended in a run rule at home on Wednesday. Gator third baseman Charla Echols slugged two home runs with five RBI in the game, and Natalie Lugo earned her third win of the season in the circle.

Scoring in Bunches

The Gator bats were alive and well following an uncharacteristic loss to 16th ranked Florida State Saturday in which they only scored two runs. Echols led the charge in this game as for the third time in her career she homered twice in the same game. The last time she did so was when the Gators topped Longwood 9-0 in 2020.

Echols said she was happy about the rare feat and thinks the Gator squad can be really special.

Echols wasn’t alone in swinging a hot bat Wednesday night, though.

Cheyenne Lindsey led off for the first time all season, but she continued to produce all the same. The senior outfielder kept her hot streak going with two more hits, one of which was a triple, and an RBI. Florida head coach Tim Walton said he’s tinkering with the lineup to make his team more dynamic.

The middle of the lineup faced some of the same struggles in this game. Emily Wilkie, Sarah Longley and Julia Cottrill had no hits on six at-bats from the five, six and eight spots in the lineup. But the freshman, Avery Goelz, had one of her best games of the season from the seven spot, getting on base in all four of her at-bats.

Owls starting pitcher Melanie Bennett went the distance, pitching the complete game on 145 pitches, but certainly kept the bases crowded. She walked four and plunked six on top of giving up 10 hits. So, the Gators certainly didn’t struggle with getting on base.

Walton said his team turned in productive at-bats at the plate Wednesday night.

On the Mound

Lugo earned the start for the Gators and, outside of giving up a two-run home run to Georgia transfer Brea Dickey, she met expectations. In her win in the circle, Lugo struck out four on 71 pitches and limited the Owls to three hits.

Katie Chronister couldn’t be stopped, either, rendering the Owls hitters helpless at the plate. After entering in the fourth inning, Chronister struck out the first five batters she faced on only 21 pitches. (16 of which were strikes.) The sixth and final batter she faced popped up. So, on two innings of work, Chronister struck out five on 28 pitches.

Walton said he kept Chronister in the game to face one more batter to give her more confidence against right-handed hitters after losing in Tallahassee. But, outside of that, he said his main focus is finding a good weekend rotation heading into SEC play.

The Gators advance to 15-1 with the win and will start SEC play with a weekend series against nationally ranked Kentucky in Gainesville.

In the Other Dugout

On the other side of the field, the Owls dropped to 6-10 with the loss. Dickey was responsible for Kennesaw State’s only runs with her two-run blast in the top of the third to give the Owls a 2-1 lead.

The Gators scored three runs in the bottom of the third, though, to go up 4-2 and never looked back. The Owls only managed three hits in the contest and struck out nine times. So, they’ll be hoping for more success when they host Lipscomb for a series this weekend.

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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