Kaila Pollard starts to throw the ball in the Gator softball team's win against Delaware State on Feb. 19. Photo courtesy of Hannah White.

Gator Softball Scores Five Runs In Sixth Inning To Sink UAB Blazers

After some struggles in the Mary Nutter Classic last weekend, it appears the Florida softball team is back on track. UF’s softball squad notched their second straight win over the University of Alabama Birmingham Blazers in a 10-0 run-rule victory. The Gators moved to 13-3 on the season following the win, also clinching the series in the process.

Lexie Delbrey excelled in the circle all game long, allowing just a single hit in six innings pitched. She also struck out six batters on the day.

Meanwhile, Charla Echols led the way for the Gators in another dominant performance at the plate. Echols blasted out a pair of home runs, driving in three runs while scoring two of her own. Kaila Pollard and Emily Wilkie each knocked out a home run as well, giving Florida a total of four homers on the day.

Rounding out UF’s offensive fireworks, Kendra Falby and Avery Goelz finished with two hits each on Saturday. Falby also scored two runs and picked up a stolen base in the first inning.

Chipping Away Early On

The Gators did not necessarily come firing out of the gate early on. Nevertheless, they did manage to take the lead in the top of the first inning. After Falby led off with a single up the middle, she stole second and eventually landed on third base following a Blazers throwing error. Echols then knocked a grounder into the infield to bring Falby home.

Delbrey’s day got off to a rocky start in the bottom of the inning. The first batter she faced made it to first on a hit-by-pitch. Two at-bats later, she hit another batter with another pitch, giving UAB two runners with just one out. Rather than getting in her own head, Delbrey kept her composure and shut the Blazers right back down. She went on to strike out the following two batters.

The second inning went by relatively quickly for both sides. After Katie Kistler singled into right center and Pollard belted out a double to bring her home, the rest of the Gators were swiftly sat down in the top of the second. In the bottom of the inning, Delbrey secured a strikeout and a pair of fly outs to make fast work of UAB.

Inning number three came and went with minimal offense, as neither side recorded a single hit in the third. Sam Roe managed to tack on a run for the Gators in the fourth inning. After leading off with a double, Roe advanced to third on a single from Goelz before she scored on a wild pitch.

In the circle, Delbrey continued to dominate, sitting down the Blazers 1-2-3 in the bottom of the inning. With Delbrey continuing to dominate with her pitching and the Gators warming up offensively, Florida was primed for a breakthrough in inning number five.

Gators Go Off In The Final Two Innings

In the fifth inning, Echols sent the ball flying over the right field fence for her first home run on the day. Later in the inning, Reagan Walsh singled into left field, and Avery Goelz brought her home on an RBI double. With another three quick outs for Delbrey in the bottom of the fifth, Florida led 5-0 after five innings.

Entering the sixth with a sizable lead, the Gators only got hotter as the inning went on. Pollard and Wilkie led things off with back-to-back homers, with Wilkie’s coming on the first pitch she saw. Three at-bats later, following a pair of singles from Falby and Skylar Wallace, Echols belted out her second homer of the game to extend the lead to 10 runs.

Delbrey finished the day strong, with only one runner making it on base in the sixth via a fielding error. She then topped off her fantastic performance by catching a Blazers batter swinging for her sixth strikeout of the day. The Gators had put the cherry on top of a fantastic day from start to finish with a stellar sixth inning to snag a 10-0 win.

The Gators will once again face the Blazers on Sunday at 11 a.m. Florida will go for the series sweep and attempt to secure their third straight run-rule victory.

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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