Florida softball coach Tim Walton talks with his team. [Doug Engle/Gainesville Sun]

Florida Softball’s Pitching Struggles Continue, Drops Series At Mizzou

The No. 9 Florida Gators softball team lost to the No. 14 Missouri Tigers 5-2 on Saturday at Mizzou Softball Stadium to drop their first SEC series of the season.

Second-Inning Struggles

For the second game in a row, the Gators (34-9, 9-5 SEC) allowed the Tigers (33-10, 7-7) to start a rally in the second inning. Starting pitcher Ava Brown (14-3) escaped a bases-loaded jam in the first inning without any damage. But she didn’t have the same outcome in the second inning.

Brown allowed a single and walk before recording her first out of the inning via a caught bunt attempt. But then everything fell apart for Brown. She gave up three straight hits, which gave the Tigers a 4-2 lead.

In the next inning, the leadoff hitter Mya Dodge homered off Brown to give the Tigers a three-run lead. UF coach Tim Walton took out Brown for the remainder of the game. Mackenzie Wooten and Olivia Miller pitched the final five innings while allowing zero runs. But the damage was already done and the Gators couldn’t stage a comeback.

Cold Offense

In their first nine games of SEC play, the Gators averaged over seven runs per game. Since then the Gators have averaged less than four runs per SEC game. While the Gators did score two runs in the first inning, they also had plenty of opportunities to score Saturday.

The Gators got off to a good start with Jocelyn Erickson‘s two-run home run. But in the final six innings, they left eight runners on base while getting a runner on base in four of the six innings.

In the fourth inning, the Gators loaded the bases with only one out. But Kendra Falby and Skylar Wallace were unable to push any runs across. In the fifth inning, the Gators again failed to score with a runner in scoring position with less than two outs.

Up Next

The Gators look to avoid a sweep with Game 3 starting at 3 p.m. Sunday (SEC Network+). Their three-game losing streak is the longest of the season.

UF returns to Gainesville for a three-game series with the South Carolina Gamecocks on Friday.

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