Georgia Rivalry

Gator Softball Loses Wild Game at Tennessee; Drops Series With One Game To Play

The 14th ranked Florida softball team falls to number four Tennessee in a wild 11-10 game at Sherri Lee Parker Stadium Sunday evening. Tennessee overcame four errors with a seven run sixth inning to come out victorious and take the series against Florida.

A Promising Start

Lady Vol’s freshman Karlyn Pickens hurled 40 pitches in the top of the first against the Gators and Florida put up four runs right off the bat. Skylar Wallace and Kendra Falby initiated the show with back-to-back walks. Wallace now posts a .616 OBP, which is second in the SEC. Charla Echols came up next and earned her 50th RBI on the season, scoring Wallace to put Florida up 1-0. The Gators took no time to put another on the board as Reagan Walsh hit a line drive up the middle that scored Falby and put herself and Echols in scoring position.

After that, Pal Egan had her chance at an RBI and succeeded, her 20th of the season, and sent Echols home on a fly ball to left field. The Gators were up 3-0 at this point. Sarah Longley added one more to the tally to end Florida’s rally. She smacked a two out RBI hit to left to score Walsh, making it 4-0.

Tennessee’s Zaida Puni spoke back with a three run homer in the bottom of the first. Puni scored Lair Beautae and McKenna Gibson. Puni went yard against the Gators Rylee Trlicek, who started for the first time since March 15th.

The top of the second consisted of another RBI by Walsh, who dropped the hammer on a drop ball to score Goelz, who walked on four pitches earlier in the inning. The Gators were on top 5-3 and maintained a lead through the sixth.

The Offensive Show Continues

The Gators put up two more in the top of the third inning. Wallace stayed hot with an RBI single, scoring Katie Kistler who reached on a fielder’s choice. Up 6-3, Falby strategically placed a slow roller up the middle to score Goelz, who reached on a no-mans land hit, on a close play at home. The score stayed 7-3 until the fifth inning.

The Gators would add to their lead in the inning.  Walsh hit a routine ground ball to shortstop Mackenzie Donihoo, but Donihoo committed an error that cost the Vols two runs. Both Wallace and Falby scored on the error, putting nine runs on their side of the score board. They reached on a hit by pitch and a fielder’s choice, respectively. Tennessee’s leadoff batter Kiki Milloy homered in the bottom of the inning to make it 9-4 in favor of the Gators.

Sixth Inning Showdown

The Lady Vols took advantage of Florida’s scoreless sixth inning. In the bottom of the sixth, the Vols’ Giulia Koutsoyanopulos’s hit a hard ground ball to Echols at third base. A small bobble led to Zaida Puni crossing the plate for the Vols. Puni reached on a hit by pitch. With the scoreboard reading 9-5, Rylie West hit a base hit to left center field to score Donihoo, who singled, and Koutsoyanopulos on the play to make it 9-7.

The game was tied 9-9 when Milloy delivered in the clutch again for Tennessee. She doubled down the left field line, scoring West and Brockenbrough, who walked earlier on. Milloy is now batting .543 with runners in scoring position. The Lady Vols took the lead when Beautae turned on a pitch, doubling to right field and scoring Katie Taylor and Milloy to make it 11-9. Taylor was hit by a pitch to load the bases before Milloy’s delivery.

An Unfortunate End

The Lady Vols put their fifth pitcher, Payton Gottshall, in the circle to start the top of the seventh. She was greeted by Skylar Wallace who hit her 15th homer of the year to prove that her team was not done yet. Unfortunately, even though Falby walked as the tying run and tried to play dirty on the base paths, the game ended in a wild 11-10 win for Tennessee.

Tennessee and Florida will go head to head Monday night for “Mic’d Up Monday.” First pitch is set for 7 p.m. at Sherri Lee Parker Stadium.  Florida is now 32-13 overall and 8-9 in SEC play while Tennessee improves to 37-5 overall and to 15-2 in league play.

About Lauren Halpern

I'm an undergraduate student in the College of Journalism and Communications working towards a Bachelor of Science in Journalism. With a specialization in sports and media, my involvement in ESPN Gainesville, Reptile Report, and The University Athletic Association has given me good introductory experience in the sports media industry. I'm seeking a sports broadcasting position as a reporter where my high energy personality and passion for athletics is communicated to the public. As an athlete myself, it's important to me to work on a supportive and hard-working team. I look forward to connecting with you!

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