The sixth ranked Florida Gator softball defeated Illinois State 3-0 on opening day at the USF Rawlings Invitational. Natalie Lugo, Elizabeth Hightower and Lexie Delbrey took control in the circle to combine for 11 strikeouts for the Gators. On the leaderboard at the plate, Falby grabbed two hits for two RBI. This is the 21st time in program history that the Gators have won by a shutout on opening day.
Opening Day Dub! #GoGators
— Gators Softball (@GatorsSB) February 12, 2022
In The Circle
Righty Natalie Lugo started strong by putting two strikeouts on the board in the first inning. In the 3.1 innings she pitched, she struck out three and limited the Redbirds to three hits. Then, Elizabeth Hightower assumed the circle and held it for a little over two innings allowing zero hits and striking out six. Finally, Lexie Delbrey closed out the game allowing no hits while racking up two strikeouts.
At the Plate
The Gators put their bats to work to grab a solid start in the 2022 season. Emily Wilkie kick-started a two-out rally and put her cleats on the bases after a single in the second inning. Avery Goelz then tripled to score Wilkie. Another run scored when Kendra Falby doubled to put the score at 2-0. The scoring plays did not stop there. Falby later drove in a run in the sixth inning to ice the game for the Gators.
Tournament action continues Saturday with two games on the schedule. The Gators will face Kansas City at 10:30 a.m. and then No. 16 Michigan at 1 p.m.