The Gators softball team huddles up before taking the field in the team's win over Loyola Chicago on Friday, February 16, 2024. Photo courtesy of MJ Holloway.

Florida Seals Second SEC Series With 9-1 Win Over Kentucky

The No. 10 Florida Gators softball team defeated the No. 23 Kentucky Wildcats 9-1 in six innings Saturday at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.

The Gators (28-4, 4-1 SEC) hit three home runs to secure a program-record 23rd run-rule win of the season and capture their second SEC series.

Brown Settles In

Ava Brown (12-1) got herself into a jam in the first inning. She gave up a walk and a hit by pitch before Ally Hutchins hit an RBI single to give Kentucky (20-10, 0-5) a 1-0 lead.

She got out of the jam with a groundout, a fielder’s choice and a flyout to limit the damage to one run. She was able to settle in to surrendered one walk in the final five innings. Brown struck out one batter, but her defense was able to make big plays for her.

She attributed her success to not pitching around the batters and trusting her defense:

Immediate Response

The Gators wasted no time responding to the 1-0 deficit. After back-to-back walks to start the home half of the first inning, Jocelyn Erickson hit an RBI double to tie the game. A Katie Kistler base hit and a Reagan Walsh sacrifice fly gave the Gators a 3-1 lead before Kentucky recorded an out.

Home Runs Provide Separation

Both offenses were stagnant after the first until the bottom of the fourth, when Mia Williams hit her second home run in two days to extend the lead to 4-1.

Focusing on what she did well in the past and staying loose at the plate are things Williams said can help her continue succeeding at the plate:

Walsh and Brown had back-to-back RBI walks later in the inning to make it 6-1.

The Gators secured the run-rule win in the sixth inning with home runs from Walsh and Baylee Goddard. Walsh’s two-run shot gave the Gators an 8-1 lead and it was her team-leading 12th home run. Goddard’s solo home run made it 9-1 to end the game.

The Series Finale

Florida will look for its first SEC sweep of the season Sunday starting at noon. The game will be televised on ESPN2.

About Jackson Colding

Jackson Colding is a second-year journalism sports and media student at the University of Florida.

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