The Florida Gators softball team started SEC play with a home series win against the Missouri Tigers. The Gators started the first game of a doubleheader on Friday with a loss. However, they won two straight games 4-3 to take 2 out of 3 games against the Tigers. Florida has a record of 22-5 and is ranked number 11 in ESPN.com rankings.
Gators Split the Friday Doubleheader
Florida and Missouri split the doubleheader on Friday to start the series. The Tigers won the first game 7-3, but the Gators came back to win the second game 4-3.
In the first game, Missouri started with two runs in the first inning. Skylar Wallace tied the game for the Gators in the bottom of third with a two-run home run. In the fifth inning, Missouri swung the game open with a three-run home run to make it a 5-2 game. Florida’s starting pitcher, Lexie Delbrey, went five plus innings and gave up 6 runs with 4 strikeouts. The Tigers hit 3 total home runs in the first game to win the game.
In the second game of the doubleheader, Missouri opened the game with a run after a throwing error. The Gators scored three runs in the third inning, capped off by a two-run single by Reagan Walsh. Florida scored a run in the fourth inning on a Wallace RBI triple. Missouri’s starting pitcher, Laurin Krings gave up 4 runs, one run earned in 5.1 innings. Elizabeth Hightower earned her tenth win of the season after pitching four innings with three strikeouts. Rylee Trlicek pitched the last three innings to earn the save for the Gators.
GATORS TAKE GAME TWO.😤🐊#GoGators pic.twitter.com/M7Dhn58nS8
— Gators Softball (@GatorsSB) March 18, 2023
Walk-Off to win the Series
In the series finale between the two teams, Missouri struck again in the first inning on a bases-loaded walk. The Tigers scored another run against Hightower on a solo home run to go up 2-0 in the third inning. Hightower started her second straight game in Sunday’s game but was not as sharp. She threw 89 pitches in three innings and gave up 2 runs. Despite another early deficit, the Gators came back with 2 runs in the fourth inning.
Trlicek pitched the last four innings in relief and gave up one run in the sixth inning. The Gators went to the last inning of play down by a run. With a runner on third and two outs, Wallace hit a single up the middle to tie the game. Wallace had 4 total RBIs in the series against Missouri and extended her on-base streak to 23 games. After Wallace reached third base after an overthrow while stealing second, Missouri intentionally walked the next two batters. With the bases loaded, the Tigers threw a wild pitch which allowed Wallace to score the game-winning run.
It's great to be a Florida Gator!
✅first SEC series of the season
✅first SEC series win#GoGators pic.twitter.com/E3gPmgxAsr
— Gators Softball (@GatorsSB) March 19, 2023
The Gators have a quick stop on Wednesday against Stetson before they play Arkansas in a weekend series on the road.