Florida Gators

Florida Softball Looks to Erase Four-Game Losing Streak as it Welcomes Ole Miss for Final Home Series

Following Wednesday’s 5-3 road loss to rival No. 4 Florida State, the No. 14 Gators will return to Gainesville this weekend to host Ole Miss for their final home series. Florida will look to snap a four-game losing streak after being swept by No. 3 Tennessee in Knoxville.

SEC Standings

The Gators (8-10) enter the series two games ahead of the Rebels (6-12) in the SEC Standings. Florida boasts a 21-4 home record and has not lost an SEC series in Gainesville this year. On the other hand, Ole Miss is 6-7 on the road and won only one of its first six conference series.

The Gators rank second in the SEC in batting average (.326), while Ole Miss ranks 11th (.278). Florida trails only Tennessee in runs scored in conference play, while Ole Miss has scored the second-lowest number of runs.

Despite Florida’s offensive success, its pitchers haven’t performed up to par in the circle. The Gators own 3.54 team ERA โ€” second-worst in the SEC โ€” and have recorded the fewest strikeouts in the SEC. Although Ole Miss doesn’t lead the conference in any pitching statistics, its 2.51 team ERA and .216 opponents’ batting average both rank in the middle of the pack.

Gators to Watch

Gator shortstop Skylar Wallace received several accolades this week following the redshirt junior’s recent hot streak. Wallace earned D1Softball National Player of the Week honors Tuesday before she won Softball America Division I Player of the Month Friday.

In addition to leading the SEC in nine offensive categories, Wallace ranks second in the country in slugging percentage (1.070) and third in on-base percentage (.614). The former Alabama transfer leads Florida with 16 home runs, eight triples, 37 walks and 28 stolen bases.

Florida third baseman Charla Echols leads the team and is tied for ninth in the nation with 53 RBIs. Echols boasts a .353 batting average this season, but the graduate student is hitting just .263 in conference action. Last weekend, she hit her first home run since March.

Besides Wallace and Echols, the Gators rely on sophomore outfielder Kendra Falby and sophomore second baseman Reagan Walsh to produce runs. Falby leads Florida with 56 hits and trails only Wallace in runs scored (47) and stolen bases (22). Walsh is batting .349 and is one of only three Gators with 40 RBIs this year. The California native went yard three times this month, which included a walk-off grand slam.

In the circle, Florida right-hander Elizabeth Hightower leads the team with 14 wins and 68 strikeouts this season, but she is 4-6 with a 4.77 ERA in SEC play. Senior southpaw Rylee Trlicek boasts an 11-3 record and a team-low 2.82 ERA. In conference play, the Texas native has recorded four wins and three saves.

Look to History

The Gators and Rebels haven’t met in Gainesville since 2017, but Florida leads the all-time series 52-11. The Gators swept the Rebels last year in Oxford, Mississippi, and won 12 of their last 15 games against Ole Miss.

How to Watch

The series opener at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium will begin Friday at 6 p.m. Game two will air on the SEC Network Saturday at 3 p.m. before Sunday’s series finale starts at noon.

About Griffin Foll

Hi, my name is Griffin Foll and I am currently a senior at UF studying journalism with a focus on sports and media and an outside concentration in political science. In addition to covering the 2023 UF men's and women's golf beats, I contribute weekly web and radio content for WRUF ESPN Gainesville. Be sure to check out some of my recent articles!

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