Florida Gators softball (21-2) blanked Mississippi State (15-11) in an 8-0 run-rule victory on Sunday. The win seals the series sweep for the Gators, their first SEC sweep of the season. They rode a 6-run fourth inning and eventually won the contest in five frames.
As Good as it Gets
Elizabeth Hightower earned her 10th win of the season in the victory Sunday. With the victory, the ace is tied for the second-most wins in the SEC. Possibly even more impressive, though, is that the shutout victory capped a series in which the Gators didn’t give up a single run to the Bulldogs.
The Gators outscored the Bulldogs 19-0 in Starkville in 19 innings of play. Over the series, Hightower put in 14 innings of work in which she struck out 10, gave up nine hits, and, of course, allowed zero runs.
Elizabeth Hightower and Natalie Lugo keeping good company. First time @GatorsSB sweeps an SEC road series with three shutouts since 2009 (Stacey Nelson and Stephanie Brombacher at LSU).
— Graham Hays (@grahamhays) March 21, 2021
Mississippi State certainly hasn’t had the start to SEC play they would’ve hoped for, starting 0-6, but a series against a streaking Gators team didn’t help matters.
Piling it On
The pitching wasn’t the only thing the Gators had going for them on Sunday. Kinsey Goelz homered for the second time in as many games after hitting her first long ball as a Gator on Saturday.
Second Career HOME RUN = SAME ENERGY‼️ https://t.co/Iwq61Ocu05
— Gators Softball (@GatorsSB) March 21, 2021
The two-run shot came in the second inning and gave Florida a 2-0 lead early on. Then, in the top of the fourth inning, the Gators pounced on Bulldogs starter Annie Willis.
Similar to Saturday’s 10-0 victory over Mississippi State, the Gators led a single-inning onslaught to victory. Cheyenne Lindsey, Hannah Adams and Kendyl Lindaman each singled to load the bases in the top of the fourth.
Willis then walked Charla Echols on four pitches to bring Lindsey in to score. Aspen Wesley came on in relief for the Bulldogs, but walked the first batter she faced to bring in another run.
Florida catcher Julia Cottrill barreled a two-RBI single up the middle to extend the lead to 8-0 where it stayed for the rest of the afternoon.
Better Things Ahead for MSU
Willis finished a disappointing start giving up five earned runs and three walks over 3.1 innings pitched. In her last time out, Willis put up solid numbers with eight strikeouts over six innings but didn’t get any run support from her hitters in a 1-0 loss.
Sunday’s loss not only capped a series in which they failed to score a run but stretches their streak of scoreless innings to 30. The last time the Bulldogs scratched the scoreboard was the first inning in a game against Ole Miss on Sunday, March 14.
No team in the SEC presents an easy contest, but the Bulldogs’ next opponent certainly isn’t a cakewalk. They’ll face the No. 17 Arkansas Razorbacks in their next weekend series after hosting Central Arkansas in a midweek matchup on Tuesday.
Up Next for the Gators
The Gators won’t have any easy competition in their coming games, either. They travel to Orlando to take on No. 20 UCF and return to Gainesville for a series with No. 12 LSU.