Charla Echols rips a double in Florida's 1-0 loss to Mississippi State Sunday. Courtesy: UAA

Softball: Gators drop game Sunday

In SEC softball’s opening weekend, the Florida Gators have already been tested. The Gators won the first game against Mississippi State but lost  by a score of 1-0 Sunday.

The first two games in the series saw very different results. In the first game, Florida was electric with 14 hits and 8 runs coming from 7 different players. Sunday, the Gators couldn’t find a spark and ended up being shut out.

Following an 8-4 victory in the first game, and a 1-0 loss in the next, Florida will try to take the series Monday.

Sunday’s Loss

The Gators started off cold and never gained momentum in Sunday’s loss. Evidently, the first inning was uneventful for both teams on offense. In the first inning alone, the Gators saw a flyout and two strikeouts.

In the second, Mississippi State earned the first, and only, run of the day. With Natalie Lugo pitching, the Bulldogs’ Paige Cooke had a strong inning. She hit a single, then stole second base, and scored on the next hit. Clearly, Lugo gave up 3 hits but escaped the inning only allowing 1 run.

At the bottom of the inning, Charla Echols nearly evened up the score but was left on third base as the inning came to a close. Echols and Cheyenne Lindsey both got on base, but the team couldn’t take advantage of the opportunity. Two more outs ended the inning, and the Gators were still down.

In the third, Lugo only gave up a single and got out of the inning without giving up another run. On offense, Katie Kistler singled and stole second, but the Gators still couldn’t score.

This pattern kept up through the sixth inning as both teams would get a batter on base and struggle to take advantage. As the sixth inning ended, the Gators were still losing by one run.

In the top of the seventh inning, Marrissa Mesiemore, who came in at the top of the sixth, closed out the game strong and held the Bulldogs scoreless in her time at the mound. She didn’t allow a player to get on base in the seventh and gave the Gators a chance.

With two outs on the board, Emily Wilkie hit a single to keep the Gators’ hopes alive. However, she was left on base when Kistler’s ground out ended the game.

Looking Forward to Tonight

The series comes to a close Monday and the Gators will try to make up for Sunday’s loss. Surely, the team is having a great season sitting at 22-2. So, If Florida can play more like it did in the first game of the series, they are more than capable of grabbing the victory.

The team pitched well on Sunday, which will be key in the last game of the series.  Certainly, the Gators’ main struggles came on offense as it struggled to score all game on Sunday.

Bulldogs’ pitcher Annie Willis gave the team troubles, but the team will try to bounce back against the next pitcher Mississippi State rolls out. However, Florida’s batters will need to find their stride to make sure they get the win. When the team is hitting up to its potential, Florida is difficult to stop.

The game is in Gainesville and coverage for the game will begin here on WRUF (98.1 FM/850 AM) at 6:50 p.m.

About Kyle Bumpers

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