Charla Echols singles up the right-field side against Mississippi State in the quarterfinals of the SEC Softball Tournament. (Photo Credit: @GatorsSB / Twitter)

Florida Softball Handed First Loss of the Season by Southern Miss

The fourth-ranked Florida Gator softball team (16-1) lost its first game of the season to the Southern Miss Golden Eagles (12-5) Wednesday night, losing 5-4.

Costly Mistakes Hurts Florida Pitching

The Gators started freshman Lexi Delbrey in the circle against Southern Miss on Wednesday. Delbrey would go six innings and strike out nine batters before being relieved. She would also give up five runs on five hits, while walking four and hitting two batters.

Delbrey struggled early against the Golden Eagles. In the first inning she would walk and hit a batter and right after gave up a three run homer to give the Golden Eagles an early 3-0 lead.  The Gators got a run back but another Southern Miss homer gave them a 4-1 lead after two innings. Outside of the first two innings, Delbrey was good as she didn’t give up any more runs over her next four innings of work.

However, Delbrey got into trouble in the seventh, which would be her last inning. She allowed a bunt single and then walked one final batter before exiting the game. Marissa Mesiemore came into the game in relief for the Gators.

Mesiemore forced what seemed to be a double play, but a throwing error by Gator shortstop Reagan Walsh gave Southern Miss a 5-4 lead.

Although there might have been some questions around seeing Delbrey begin the seventh still in the circle, Gator head coach Tim Walton saw the reasoning behind keeping her in.

Offense Not Enough for Florida

The Gator batters were put to work early after finding themselves down three runs in just the first inning.

They scraped up a run in the first inning.  Freshman Kendra Falby began the inning by reaching base and she eventually scored on an RBI single by Charla Echols.

Similar to Southern Miss, the Gators brought in runs in the second inning as well. Florida loaded the bases with two outs and scored two runs after Hannah Adams drove in a run after being hit by a pitch and Skylar Wallace drew a bases loaded walk to plate another run.

The Gators would eventually tie up the game at four apiece in the fifth inning after a sacrifice fly from Charla Echols that brought home Skylar Wallace.

While they did tie the game up, this would be the last run the Gators would score in the game. They had other chances to score, but they couldn’t take advantage of those situations.

In the final inning, Skylar Wallace singled to give the Gators the tying run at first. However, the next batter hit into a double play ending the inning and ending the perfect season for Florida.

Losses don’t sit well with Walton, but he’s not too worried and knows there’s some adjustments needed to help his team get better.

Skylar Wallace is no different than Walton, but understands that losing is part of the game and the team will need to just learn from it and move on.

Upcoming Weekend for Florida

This weekend Florida will host the Bubly Invitational. They began the tournament with two games on Friday (3/4) against Georgia State at 3:30 PM and Coastal Carolina at 6 PM. On Saturday (3/5) they face off against Tennessee State at 1 PM. They end the weekend with two more games against Coastal Carolina at 11:30 AM and Georgia State at 2 PM.

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