Skylar Wallace hits a home run during the Gators' game against the Georgia Bulldogs on Friday, April 14, 2023 at Katie Seashole Pressly Softball Stadium in Gainesville, FL / UAA Communications photo by Te'a Startz.

Wallace, Pitching The Difference In Gators Softball Opening Win

The Florida Gators softball team defeated Oregon State 1-0 in the season opener Friday at the USF-Rawlings Invitational in Tampa.

When shortstop Skylar Wallace got up to bat in the bottom of the third inning, neither team had registered a hit. But one swing of the bat by Wallace broke up the Beavers’ no-hitter and put the Gators on the board. Wallace’s home run was the hitting highlight in a matchup dominated by pitchers.

Gators in Trouble

In the fourth inning, Beavers first baseman Lici Campbell broke up the Gators no-hitter with a leadoff double. The Beavers then loaded the bases thanks to a Gators error and a walk. With the bases loaded and zero outs, Oregon State senior Charity Sevaaetasi headed to the plate.

Sevaaetasi hit a ball back to Gators pitcher Ava Brown, who threw the ball to catcher Jocelyn Erickson to get the out at home. Just two pitches later, Beavers third baseman Grace Messmer hit another ball back to the pitcher. Brown yet again got the out at home. But this time Erickson forced the double play at first base to get the Gators out of trouble.

The Beavers would not register a hit in the final three innings. 

Freshmen Impress

The Gators couldn’t have asked for a better performance from their freshman pitchers in their debuts. Brown (1-0) and Keagan Rothrock (save) combined for seven scoreless innings and five strikeouts while only allowing one hit.

Beavers pitcher Logan Hulon also impressed on the mound, pitching the entire game and only allowing one run on three hits. But one run was all the Gators needed for the win.

The Wallace Impact

Last season, Wallace led the team with a .447 batting average, 55 RBIs and 19 home runs. One game into the 2024 season, she is already punishing opposing teams. Wallace will look to earn her second straight NFCA Player of the Year award this season.

The Gators continue at the USF-Rawling invitational at the USF Softball Stadium on Saturday with matchups against Michigan and Illinois State. First pitch against Michigan is set for 2 p.m. followed at 7 p.m. against Illinois State.

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