Florida shortstop Skylar Wallace (17) and Florida catcher Jocelyn Erickson (8) celebrate Wallace’s game winning three run home run during an NCAA softball game against Georgia Southern at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium on Feb.16, 2024. [Alan Youngblood/Gainesville Sun]

Gators Softball Even Series with Mississippi State with Win, 8-5

The Gators found themselves in familiar place at the end of the seventh inning Friday. Two Bulldog runners were on the corners. The tying run was at bat. On Thursday night, they gave up seven runs in the seventh inning to lose the game 13-12.

This time Florida stepped on the field in Game 2, ready to go toe-to-toe with the explosive Mississippi State offense. The Gators put away the Bulldogs, 8-5, to set up a rubber game for Saturday.

Hitting Homers

Jocelyn Erickson was the key to Florida’s success,  Erickson sent two balls flying over the Bulldogs fence to keep the pressure on Mississippi State’s pitchers. Erickson’s five RBIs are the reason the No. 10 Gators (30-5, 6-2 SEC) remained competitive against the No. 17 Bulldogs (25– 8, 6-5).

Ava Brown  (13-2) redeemed her earlier pitching with a homer at the top of the six.  While her homer gave the Gators some room to breathe, it couldn’t redeem her seventh-inning pitches. She gave up three walks and two singles that put the Bulldogs within winning distance. She ended with six innings pitched, five earned runs and five walks.

Saving The Game

Keagan Rothrock found redemption after her struggles against the Bulldogs on Thursday. She was brought in to replace Brown in the seventh. Rothrock faced four batters and didn’t allow a run in her 22 pitches against Mississippi State. While the strike-out heavy pitcher failed to get any swing and misses, she kept the ball in the park.

Katie Kistler assisted Rothrock with her game-ending catch in the outfield. The Bulldogs’ DP Ella Wesolowski sent a ball drifting into right field. Kistler dove, hitting the grass near the foul line. But the ball was in her glove, and the Gators ended the game, smiling.

Up Next

The Gators look to win the Starkville series starting at 1 p.m. Saturday. The game will be aired on the SEC Network+, ESPN 98.1-FM/850-AM WRUF.

About Liana Handler

Liana Handler is a sophmore at the University of Florida, studying sports journalism.

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