Gators drop series opener to Gamecocks
Florida only registered four hits in narrow losss
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - The No. 3 ranked Florida Softball team entered Friday’s series opener against South Carolina looking to get back in the win column, but the Gamecocks limited the Gators to just four hits and one run to fall 2-1 to extend the orange and blue’s losing streak to two.
Elizabeth Hightower started the game in the circle for the Gators, but ran into trouble in opening frame. Hightower surrendered back to back singles to start the top of the 1st, then after recording the first out, gave up a single to center, which allowed Kenzi Maguire to score from second to give the Gamecocks a 1-0 lead.
Florida would only need the home-half of the inning to respond. With Charla Echols standing at first after being hit in the helmet with a pitch, Kendyl Lindaman roped a shot off the wall in right-center to bring home Echols to even the game, 1-1.
After the 1st, the game remained deadlocked, until the top of the 6th. After Maguire doubled to lead off the inning, Gators head coach pulled Hightower in favor of relief pitcher Katie Chronister. Chronister was ahead in the count against Mackenzie Boesel, but Boesel singled back up the middle on the very next pitch. As the ball entered Florida center fielder Cheyenne Lindsey’s glove, Maguire began to round third, creating a play at the plate. Lindsey’s throw was in time to tag out Macguire, but the Gamecocks runner somehow avoided Julia Cottrill’s tag to swipe the plate and score the go-ahead run to make it 2-1 South Carolina.
The gators did have one last shot at tying the game in the bottom of the 7th. With runners at the corners and two out, Jaimie Hoover swung at an outside fastball on a 2-2 count, and it hung up in the air long enough for the Gamecocks second baseman to run underneath it and record the game’s final out.
With the series opener going to the Palmetto State gals, Florida will need to win back-to-back games to avoid dropping their first Southeastern Conference series of the season.
Game 2 of the series begins at 6 p.m. Saturday, but fans will want to arrive extra early for this one. It’s Senior Day at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.
The Gators will recognize Katie Chronister, Jaimie Hoover, Kendyl Lindaman, and Jordan Matthews on the field before the game.
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