Gator Softball Drowns Dolphins in Home Opener

The Florida Gator softball team cruised to victory over the Jacksonville Dolphins in their first home game of 2023 Wednesday night. They won the game by a final score of 11-0 in five innings.

This was the second night in a row Florida took care of Jacksonville as they won Tuesday night on the road 13-2. The Gators have now won five straight to start the season. This is the first time in program history they have began the season with five straight five-inning mercy rules.

With the demolition job, Florida is now a perfect 5-0 on the season as Jacksonville drops to .500 at 3-3.

Gator Bats Hot Early

Rylee Trlicek started in the circle for the Gators for the third time in the young season. In her first two starts, she posted 8.2 innings, giving up nine hits and just one earned run.

Jacksonville’s Victoria Rodebaugh led off and hit the first pitch of the game to left-center for a leadoff single. Trlicek got into a groove after that as she set down the next three batters, two by way of strikeout.

Florida jumped ahead in the bottom of the first. Sophomore left fielder Kendra Falby led off with a single to left field. She scored on a rope to the right-center gap from Skylar Wallace who got to third easily for a stand up triple. Two batters later, Reagan Walsh pulled a line drive single to left field that drove home Wallace. At the end of one, the Gators led 2-0.

Trlicek continued to deal in the second as it took her just five pitches to retire the side in order.

The Gators came out swinging in the bottom half. They strung together four consecutive hits to start the inning, including a Katie Kistler RBI single. After a sacrifice fly from Wallace, third baseman Charla Echols came to the plate with two runners on. She blasted a three-run home run over the center field wall to put the Gators up 7-0 early.

This shot was Echols’ second homer of the year. Gator head coach Tim Walton talked about Echols performance against the Dolphins and her start to the season.

Florida Tacks On

In the top of the third, the Dolphins were held scoreless yet again by Trlicek.

Jacksonville reliever Ashlee Harwood struggled in the bottom half. She walked three in the inning, but was able to get herself out of trouble as she came away unscathed. Florida was still up seven after three.

In the top of the fourth, JU’s Kari Holzrichter lined one to right field for their second hit of the night. That’s all they got in the inning though as Trlicek gave up nothing else. This ended Trlicek’s night as she finished with four innings of scoreless softball, giving up just two hits and striking out two.

Trlicek said that she liked her performance, but there’s always room for improvement.

To lead off the bottom half of the fourth, Wallace drove a 2-2 pitch to the left-center wall for her second extra base hit of the game. The next batter, Echols, dribbled one up the middle for an RBI single, her fourth run batted in of the night.

Later in the inning, pinch hitter Emily Wilkie sent a no-doubt three-run homer to left field. This bomb extended Florida’s lead to 11.

In the fifth, the Gators brought in Olivia Gigante to close it out. She walked two in the inning but got Madison Reynolds to line out to right field to end the ballgame with a final score of 11-0.

Coach Walton said that he liked going on the road to start the season because it allows the players to get to know each other better early in the year. However, he said the energy and electric atmosphere was great for the home opener.

T-Mobile Tournament Up Next

After defeating the Dolphins on back-to-back nights, the Gator softball team will host the T-Mobile Tournament this weekend at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. They will play five games in three days. Two will be against UCONN, and one game each against Bowling Green, Central Michigan and Delaware State.

About Hugh Green

Hugh is a third year student majoring in Journalism: Sports and Media at the University of Florida.

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