A special report from the UAA on the Florida Gators softball team:
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – No. 6 Florida opened the Bubly Invitational with a 8-3 victory over Georgia Southern on a damp Friday evening at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.
The Gators (4-0) fell behind early 1-0 to the Eagles (0-1) in the top of the 2nd inning on an uncharacteristic defensive miscue after a well-placed bunt was put down by Shayla Smith. Bailee Wilson scored on an error after a move from first to third base on the bunt.
Despite just the one hit and one unearned run in the first, senior Natalie Lugo (1-0) settled in to retired the next nine-straight Eagles hitters and give the Gators offense a chance to make a comeback.
The nation’s sixth-ranked team did just that in the 4th inning. Avery Goelz (1-for-2) picked up a one-out single to center field, but was retired on Kali Reis’ fielder’s choice to second. Reis moved into scoring position on a stolen base, which was followed up by an infield single from Cheyenne Lindsey (1-for-3) to turn the lineup over.
Hannah Adams (1-for-3) came through once again and gave the Gators the lead, 2-1, with a two-RBI single up the middle to score both Reis and Lindsey who advanced into scoring position on a wild pitch during Adams’ at-bat.
The Gators picked up more insurance in the 6th inning to take an 8-1 lead over Georgia Southern. Echols picked up her third hit of the night with a single to left field, which was then followed up by an Emily Wilkie walk.
With Echols and Wilkie on base with one out, Baylee Goddard (1-for-2) produced the second triple of the night when she lasered a show down the right field line to clear the bases.
Jaimie Hoover (2-for-3) capped the scoring on the night when she drove in Goddard from third with a SAC fly to left field.
The Eagles didn’t go away quietly as they were able to plate a pair of runs in the final inning to close down the lead to 8-3, but Lugo went the distance and finished for her first complete-game of the season. She tallied seven strikeouts and relinquished only five hits and one out.
The Gators will continue the Bubly Inviational Saturday with games against Georgia Southern at 1 p.m. and Charlotte at 4 p.m. (ET).
- The Gators now hold an overall record of 3-0 against Georgia Southern. The Eagles have yet to play a game this season as their first four games were rained out.
- March 2, 2001 – W, 7-6 (11) – Statesboro, Ga.
- Feb. 25, 2018 – W, 8-0 (5) – Gainesville, Fla.
- Feb. 19, 2021 – W, 8-3 – Gainesville, Fla.
- Charla Echols continued to stay hot at the plate and is now 11-for-13 on the season after last the win tonight and has one double, two triples, two home runs and nine RBI.
- Head Coach Tim Walton picked up win 798 as a Gator tonight and is poised to hit the 800 mark this weekend. In 2020, he became the second fastest NCAA Division I head coach to reach 900 career wins.
- Record at Florida | 798-171 (.823) | 16 Seasons
- Career Record | 921-235 (.795) | 19 Seasons