Florida shortstop Skylar Wallace extended her hitting streak to a season-high nine games Friday. [Alan Youngblood/Gainesville Sun]

Florida Softball Wins NCAA Regional Opener Against FGCU

The No. 4 national seed Florida Gators softball team beat the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles 6-0 on Friday at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium in the first game of the NCAA Gainesville Regional.

The Gators’ offense came alive in the sixth inning and pitcher Keagan Rothrock (27-6) dominated the Eagles’ lineup (37-20) for UF’s ninth consecutive win.

Offense Comes Alive Late

FGCU starter Allison Sparkman (12-5) held the Gators (47-12) without a hit until the bottom of the third inning when Kendra Falby hit an infield single. With runners on first and second and two outs Skylar Wallace hit a two-run double to start the scoring for Florida. That was Florida’s 103rd double of the season, a program record.

Florida put the game away in the sixth with four runs.

Wallace singled and Jocelyn Erickson walked to get runners on first and second with one out for Reagan Walsh. Following a successful double steal, Walsh hit a sacrifice fly to make it 3-0. Avery Goelz, who pinch hit for Ava Brown, hit an RBI single to make it 4-0 and Ariel Kowalewski hit a two-run single to make it 6-0.

Rothrock Stays Dominant

Rothrock pitched six-and-one-third innings to help her offense, which struggled for the first five innings.

In her first NCAA Tournament start, she gave up two hits and struck out three FGCU. She gave up no walks.

Ava Brown came in and got the final two outs for Florida.

Rothrock credited her defense and her confidence for the successful outing.

“I think one of the biggest things is one, having a great defense behind me, and, two, just knowing that the stuff I have is good enough to beat everybody,” Rothrock said.

Up Next

The Gators will take on the South Alabama Jaguars (33-18-1), a 1-0 winner against the Florida Atlantic Owls in the other first-round game Friday afternoon, at 1 p.m. Saturday (SEC Network). FGCU plays the Owls (41-15) in an elimination game Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

The loser of the 1 p.m. game will play the winner of the 3:30 p.m. in another elimination game at 6 p.m.

Saturday’s winners play Sunday (time TBD) for the right to advance to the Super Regional next weekend.

About Jackson Colding

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

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