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 in Gainesville, FL on Friday, February 16, 2024. [Alan Youngblood/Gainesville Sun]

Gators Softball Travels to Georgia for Top 15 Clash

The No. 12 Florida softball team travels to Athens this weekend to face the No. 11 Georgia Bulldogs. The border-state rivals are set to play a three-game series starting Friday.

After losing six of their last 10 games, the Gators will look to get back on track starting Friday. The Bulldogs have not faired much better recently, as they’re just one game above .500 in their last 11 outings. The Gators enter as the third-ranked team in the SEC, with wins in all but one conference series this year. Georgia is the fifth-ranked team in the conference, having dropped three of their last four SEC series.

The Matchup

The Gators are hitting .346 as a team on the season, led by outfielder Korbe Otis. Otis comes in with a batting average of .448 on the year with five homeruns and is in the midst of an eight-game hit streak. Juniors Reagan Walsh and Kendra Falby have also impressed, each sporting a .402 batting average. Walsh leads the team in homeruns (15) and doubles (13), and extended her on-base streak to 15 games in Wednesday’s loss to Florida State.

All-American shortstop Skylar Wallace leads the team on the base paths with 28 stolen bases in 29 attempts this year. She has 110 stolen bags in her Florida career, putting her just three short of the Gators’ all-time record of 113 set by Kelsey Stewart.

Florida’s pitching staff has a 2.54 ERA on the season, led by freshmen Keagan Rothrock and Ava Brown. Rothrock was named to the TUCCI/NFCA D1 Freshman of the Year Top 25 list earlier this week, with 137 strikeouts and a batting average against of just .178 this year.

The Bulldogs enter with a team batting average of .301, with six hitters above the .300 mark on the season. Senior outfielder Jayda Kearney leads the team in hits (51) and home runs (15). Infielder Sara Mosley sits second on the team in hits (48) and is first in RBIs with 53, 16 more than any other Bulldog.

In the circle, the Bulldogs come in with a 2.34 staff ERA, led by junior Lilli Backes. Backes has tallied 100 strikeouts this season in 120.2 innings pitched, with a batting average against of .218.

First pitch is at 6 p.m. at Jack Turner Softball Stadium.

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