Gators Softball
Scenes from the Gators 21-0 win against the Illinois State Redbirds Photo by Leslie White

Gators Softball Wraps Up T-Mobile Tournament With Fireworks On Offense

In case they had not already made it clear: the Florida Gators are very good at softball.

As the T-Mobile Tournament in Gainesville came to a close, Florida finished off a strong weekend with a pair of mercy rule victories on Sunday. The Gators blasted out three home runs through five innings in a 15-1 win over the Central Michigan Chippewas. Later in the day, UF manhandled the Delaware State Hornets in five innings as well to secure a 15-0 victory.

Skylar Wallace, Sarah Longley and Kaila Pollard each finished with one home run against the Chippewas. Avery Goelz also chipped in with a three-RBI triple in the fourth inning to cement Florida’s control over the game. Rylee Trlicek got the win in the circle over Central Michigan. She pitched in all five innings and only surrendered three hits, two walks and one run.

Pal Egan led the way for the Gators over the Hornets. She finished the day with four RBIs and her first home run as a Florida Gator. Reagan Walsh and Charla Echols also provided some firepower for UF’s offense. Walsh drilled out a three-RBI double early in the game, while Echols drove in two more runs later on to secure the lead.

Lexie Delbrey started in the circle over Delaware State and pitched three innings. She only allowed one hit and one walk while racking up three strikeouts. Olivia Gigante pitched the final two innings, giving up two hits and no runs.

Gators Knock Out A Pair Of Homers In The Third

Florida initially struggled to get anything going against Central Michigan. In the first two innings, the Gators only recorded one hit (a double from Sam Roe) and failed to score any runs. The Chippewas went on to strike first in the top of the third inning. Allyssa Hollo knocked a double into center field to drive Michaleigh Vallimont home.

While this put the Gators in an early hole, they remained unfazed. If anything, this early deficit gave them the energy they needed to wake up. And boy, did they ever.

After Kendra Falby picked up a single and a stolen base to lead off the bottom of the third, Skylar Wallace did what she does best; dominate the plate. With the count at 3-2, Wallace drilled the ball into the heart of center field and over the fence for her third home run of the year.

Wallace’s homer kicked the Gators’ offense into overdrive. Later on in the inning, Sarah Longley sent a ball out so deep that it may have made its way onto Hull Road. Longley’s home run drove in three more runs, and Florida had regained full control.

Kistler Kickstarts A Fourth Inning Rally

The Gators did not stop there. During the first play in the bottom of the fourth inning, Katie Kistler sent a line drive deep into center field. As she approached second base, she saw the fielder had still not corralled the ball. Rounding the bag, Kistler charged towards third base with all guns blazing.

However, as the third baseman attempted to receive the incoming throw, she directly crossed into Kistler’s path, resulting in a collision at the bag. The umpire called Kistler safe, and her triple gave Florida yet another momentum boost to fire up their bats. Kistler quipped after the game that she thought she injured her “butt bone” after the play.

“I was just looking for the next base, and seeing her there… I didn’t know what to do except for run into her,” Kistler said. “When I realized I had ran into her… I was like ‘what is happening right now?’ I’m glad that I’m okay, and I’m glad that she’s okay, but it was a lot.”

It was all gas and no brakes from there. Wallace and Goelz each knocked out a triple to drive in more runs for the Gators, while Longley drove in another run on a double into center field. The cherry on top came when Pollard blasted her first career home run.

“Once it went over the fence, I think I had the biggest smile I’ve ever had on my face,” Pollard said. “I was just excited to touch home.”

Following a two-RBI pinch hit single from Bryn Thomas, the Gators eventually built up their lead to 15-1, and they kept it there. Trlicek sat down all three Central Michigan batters she faced in the fifth inning, and Florida was victorious.

Gators Offensive Onslaught Continues In Game Two

Florida picked up right where they left off in their second game in the afternoon. After a pair of singles and a walk loaded the bases, Walsh immediately emptied them out with a powerful double into right field.

Egan, Pollard and Kistler combined to drive in three more runs, giving UF a 6-0 lead after one inning. In the following inning, Goelz hit a single along the right field line to bring two runs home. Egan then popped out a sacrifice fly to extend Florida’s lead to 9-0.

In the top of the third inning, the Hornets led off with a walk, giving them a potential opportunity to strike back. Echols, however, did not allow that to happen. The following batter attempted to hit a bunt, but Echols got down in the dirt to snag the out. As the runner on first contemplated her next move, Echols immediately made the throw over to Goelz, who tagged her out.

Delaware State never managed to respond after that. Echols kept her energy alive on the offensive end as well with a two-RBI double early in the inning. Sam Roe then hit a line drive single to bring home Echols’ pinch runner. Olivia Gigante got in on the fun as well, blasting a double into deep center field in the subsequent at-bat.

Egan then topped it all off with Florida’s fourth home run of the day. After joining the Gators as a graduate transfer from Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Egan could not have envisioned a better way to start off her career with Florida.

“I was so happy to just be able to round the bases,” Egan said. “I heard the crowd cheering super loud, but it was even better to see my teammates at the plate smiling and laughing.”

The Gators quieted down in the batter’s box, but maintained control over the Hornets defensively. Gigante took over in the circle, and despite giving up a pair of hits in two innings, she kept Delaware State off the scoreboard. By the time the dust had settled, Florida walked away with their second 15-run outing on the day.

Up Next For The Gators

Florida moved to 10-0 on the year following five wins in the T-Mobile Tournament this past weekend. UF will now prepare to travel to Palm Springs, California, for the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic. Their first action in the tournament will come in a doubleheader against Cal State Fullerton and UCLA on Thursday.

About Jack Meyer

Jack Meyer is a third-year student at the University of Florida. He is majoring in Journalism and specializing in Sports and Media.

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