No. 10 Gators’ softball splits double header to close regular season
Florida finishes regular season 41-15
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - The No. 10 Florida softball team ended their regular season on a semi-high note by splitting their double header at home on Saturday.
The Gators (41-15) lost 3-2 to Florida Gulf Coast University (18-33) in the opening contest of the double header, but rebounded to blank Mercer (16-38) 2-0 and give the home fans some excitement and momentum to cheer about ahead of the upcoming Southeastern Conference Tournament.
Nathalie Lugo (9-5) started in the circle for the orange and blue against the Eagles, but only lasted four innings, after surrendering a pair of runs on three hits. Riley Trilicek entered in relief, but she also gave up a run, which turned out to be the difference in the contest.
The Gators were no-hit through five innings, and finally came alive in the bottom of the 6th. Cheyenne Lindsey hit a deep fly ball to center field, which stayed in the yard, but was deep enough to score Skylar Wallace from third to cut the deficit to 3-1.
In the bottom of the 7th, Wallace hit a sacrifice fly to left field, which brought in Christina Wellen to shrink the game to 3-2.
With runners on first and second and two outs, Charla Echols stood in the batters box with a chance to tie or win the game. Echols tomahawked a letters-high pitch and it sailed out to right field, but it didn’t have enough power behind it and it fell into the glove of Cana Davis to end the game.
This was just the second loss the Gators incurred all season to an unranked, non-conference opponent.
Tim Walton’s team didn’t have long to hang their heads and pout because no more than 15 minutes later, Florida’s contest with Mercer began.
Elizabeth Hightower (14-7) got the nod to hurl at the Bears hitters and she threw a gem of a game. Hightower threw her fifth complete game of the season, as she only allowed one hit, no runs, and struck out three.
At the plate, the orange and blue only managed to score two runs for the second straight contest, but that’s all they would need in this one.
Both runs came across in the bottom of the first. Skylar Wallace singled through the right side to drive in Kendra Falby. Then, Wallace managed to touch home after stealing second and taking the next two bases thanks to a Bears throwing error.
The 2-0 lead stayed that way for the remainder of the game until the final out was recorded.
The Gators have a couple days off to rest up and prepare for the Southeastern Conference Tournament, which they host, in Gainesville, beginning Tuesday, May 10 - Saturday, May 14.
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