Avery Goelz throws the ball in the outfield in the Gators 1-0 win over Mississippi State. Photo Courtesy of GatorsSB Twitter.

Softball Uses Fourth Inning Home Run to Squeeze by Mississippi State

The fifth-ranked Gators Softball team went on the road for just the second time this season, taking on the 15-9 (0-4 SEC) Mississippi State Bulldogs Friday night. A pitching duel through three innings, Kinsey Goelz came to the plate in the top of the fourth inning with two outs. She blasted a solo home run over the left-field wall to give the Gators a 1-0 lead. That’s all starting pitcher Elizabeth Hightower would need, continuing her dominance on the season throwing another complete-game shutout in the Gators 1-0 win over the Bulldogs.

Gators Offense Struggles On the Road

Despite seven hits from the Gators’ offense, the team was only able to put one run on the scoreboard, coming from the Goelz home run.

In the first inning, a Hannah Adams single, a Kendyl Lindaman double, and a Charla Echols walk loaded the bases for the Gators with no outs. However, Bulldogs starting pitcher Annie Willis was able to escape the jam and get out of the inning with no runs allowed.

The Gators had another opportunity to put runs on the scoreboard in the top of the third. Lindaman and Echols had one-out singles and a wild pitch allowed the runner to advance, setting up third and second with one out in the inning. Willis was able to get out of the jam once again, getting Julia Cottrill to strike out and Avery Goelz to fly out to centerfield.

The Gators home run came in the top of the fourth inning on a 2-2 count, as Kinsey Goelz was able to hit her first home run as a Gator and allow the team to take a 1-0 lead.

A few more hits came along in the later innings, but none were able to bring any more runs across the scoreboard.

Hightower Strikes Out Six in Another Complete-Game Shutout

Despite giving up six hits, Hightower continued to roll down the opposing Bulldogs hitters through seven innings.

She ran into trouble in the bottom of the fourth inning, giving up a double and a bunt single to lead off the inning. But Hightower dug deep and battled back, getting the next batter to fly out to left field. A line-out allowed gave Hightower two outs in the inning, and a groundout to the shortstop allowed Hightower to get out of the jam.

Hightower was able to strand a runner on second and first in the bottom of the sixth inning and was able to leave a runner on second in the bottom of the seventh inning to pick up her ninth win on the season. The win improved the Gators record to 19-2 (3-1 SEC).

Up Next

The Gators will continue the series with the Bulldogs, with the second game of the series beginning at 3 p.m.

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