Gator Softball earns 3-1 win over Wildcats in game two of SEC Opening Weekend series

Natalie Lugo earns fourth win of season
Published: Mar. 13, 2021 at 7:14 PM EST
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - After giving up a solo home run in the top of the second, Florida starting pitcher Natalie Lugo retired the next nine batters she faced to help lead Florida to a 3-1 victory against Kentucky on Saturday.

The sixth ranked Gators (17-1) collected their second win in a row against the ninth ranked Wildcats (19-2) to begin Southeastern Conference play, thanks to stellar pitching by Natalie Lugo and timely hitting.

Lugo allowed just one run on two hits, while striking out three over five innings. She kept hitters off balance with a mixture of different speeds and locations. Her fourth win of the season allowed Florida to improve to 2-0 in conference play.

At the plate, the Gators racked up seven hits, but only catcher Julia Cottrill recorded an extra base hit. The three runs Florida scored were all unearned and charged to Wildcats starting pitcher Grace Baalman.

Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the second, Cheyenne Lindsey took the batters box with the bases loaded and two outs. She hit an 0-1 pitch toward second, but the ball went through Lauren Johnson’s legs and dribbled in to right field, which allowed Avery Goelz and Julia Cottrill to touch home to give Florida the lead for good.

But the Gators added an insurance run, just to be safe, thanks to Hannah Adams. She pushed an outside fastball between the hole in short and third to easily score Jamie Hoover. That made it 3-1.

Head Coach Tim Walton brought in Elizabeth Hightower in the 6th when reliever Katie Chronister loaded up the bases with two outs. Hightower calmly escaped the jam by inducing a fly out to left.

Florida can complete the series sweep on Sunday in third and final contest between the two teams.

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