The Florida Gators softball team (32-6) takes on Florida Gulf Coast (21-15) on Wednesday at 5 p.m. The No. 3 Gators just concluded a weekend series win in Tuscaloosa over the former No. 3 Crimson Tide.
The non-conference matchup falls between Gators’ series against Alabama and an upcoming series against South Carolina.
The Gators took two of three games against the Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa. Following the weekend, the former No. 5 Gators replaced Alabama at No. 3 in both polls.
Florida took games one and two on Friday and Saturday but couldn’t finish off the sweep, losing to the Tide 4-2 on Sunday. The series marked the Gators’ first SEC action in nearly two weeks, but they didn’t show much rust, outscoring Alabama 13-6 over the weekend.
Although she took the loss on Sunday, Elizabeth Hightower pitched 11 innings over the weekend and gave up only one earned run. The three other runs she gave up on Sunday came from a variety of errors and defensive miscues.
Florida has been fairly successful in non-conference games. The Gators are 20-3 outside of the SEC, with two of those losses coming to UCF. Additionally, the Gators are 10-4 on the road, so they’ll be tested again on Wednesday in Fort Meyers.
The softball season is quickly winding down. The Gators get a break from SEC play with the matchup against FGCU and again with a midweek game against Florida A&M on April 28.
Past that, the Gators will play three more SEC series against South Carolina, Missouri and Texas A&M before the SEC Tournament.
FGCU comes into Wednesday’s game after losing a series at USF over the weekend. The Bulls took games one and three of the weekend series to down the Eagles.
The Eagles have a plethora of hitters that make a difference at the plate, but possibly none more than Johneisha Rowe. She leads the team in batting average (.367), hits (40), runs (31) and stolen bases (26). If the Eagles want to keep pace with the Gators offensively, they’ll look to Rowe for efficiency.
In the circle, Sarah Lawton leads the Eagles with a 1.99 ERA and 52 strikeouts. Marissa Mesiemore carries the bulk of the work for FGCU, pitching 98.1 innings, but sports a 3.56 ERA and an 11-6 record.
Where to Catch the Game
The game will air live online through YouTube and on ESPN 98.1 FM/850 AM WRUF.