The Gators softball team will open their season at the USF-Rawlings Invitational Friday at 7 p.m. against Boston University. The tournament will run through Sunday, and the Gators will matchup against Boston College, Illinois State and University of South Florida throughout the weekend.
𝘖𝘗𝘌𝘕𝘐𝘕𝘎 𝘋𝘈𝘠‼️ #GoGators
🆚 Boston University
🕰️ 7 PM (ET)
📍 Tampa, FL
📻 ESPN 98.1/850 AM WRUF
🔊 https://t.co/5VEkgVRQGe pic.twitter.com/ICTYAGmfgt
— Gators Softball (@GatorsSB) February 10, 2023
Heading into the 2023 season, the Gators have multiple starters returning to the team that advanced to the Women’s College World Series last year. The team also begins the season ranked No. 4. All-American Charla Echols will play third base, All-SEC first team member Skylar Wallace will take shortstop and Kendra Falby, who made her mark earning freshman of the week twice last season, will lead the outfield in center. Both Wallace and Falby were named 2023 Preseason All-Americans. Lexie Delbrey will lead the team in the circle. Behind the plate will be senior Sarah Longley, and she will be catching for the first time since middle school.
ICYMI: @Wallace2Skylar & @kfalby7 were tabbed 2023 @D1Softball Preseason All-Americans‼️ #GoGators pic.twitter.com/3TXizLqQzH
— Gators Softball (@GatorsSB) February 7, 2023
In the 2022 season, Florida had one of the youngest lineups in the SEC, posting impressive offensive stats for a newly constructed team. As a team, the Gators batted .314, the highest average in program history since the 2016 squad. The team had 15 hits in a game three times last season. Those came against DePaul, Coastal Carolina and Wisconsin. Florida prides itself on athleticism and shows it on the base paths. It went 132-149 on stolen bases, with Wallace leading the team with 52. Falby trailed with 36.
In the field, the Gators had significantly less errors than its opponents. Ten players stayed perfect in the field, recording no errors. Katie Kistler was a unit in the outfield for the team, making no mistakes in left field. She’ll be back to that spot to start the season.
Florida is kicking off their season against Boston University. The history between the Gators and the Terriers runs thin. The matchup has only happened three times before, but Gators have the upper hand as the team is 2-1 in the series. The last time the two teams met was in 2019 in Gainesville.
The Gators will take on Boston College on Saturday. The two teams have only played once, with their only matchup coming in March 2014. Florida came out on top, outscoring the Eagles 7-3 at home. Illinois State will face the Gators immediately afterward. This matchup is more of a familiar one, as the two teams have met 18 times in the past. The Gators have won 16 times in a row.
The tournament will conclude on Sunday with a matchup between the Gators and USF, a frequent competition. This will be the 72nd game between the Gators and the Bulls. The teams met twice last season, playing on both turfs. The Gators came out on top both times, winning 12-0 in Tampa and 1-0 in Gainesville.
Long-term, the Gators hope to take a trip back to Oklahoma City.
Opening the 2023 season ranked No. 4️⃣‼️ #GoGators pic.twitter.com/7Au63yxw4J
— Gators Softball (@GatorsSB) January 31, 2023