Florida escapes with series win over South Carolina

A special report from the UAA on the Florida Gators softball team:

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – No. 3 Florida claimed its sixth Southeastern Conference series of the season with a 4-1 victory in the series finale Sunday afternoon against South Carolina at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.

The Gators’ (35-7, 14-4 SEC) pitching tandem of Natalie Lugo (13-1) and Katie Chronister held the Gamecocks (24-20, 3-15 SEC) to just a pair of runs in the win. Chronister entered in the top of the 6thinning with two outs and a 4-1 lead to secure her team-leading fifth save of the year.

Florida struck first in the initial inning of play thanks to a pair of South Carolina defensive miscues and a timely RBI single. Hannah Adams reached via an error by shortstop Kenzi Maguire then advanced into scoring position with her sixth stolen base of the season.

Cheyenne Lindsey put the pressure on with a SAC bunt in front of home plate that induced an errant throw by catcher Jordan Fabian and allowed Adams to race home for the first run of the game. Kendyl Lindaman plated Lindsey for the second run of the inning via an RBI single down the left field line.

The Gators manufactured a run in the 2ndinning of play with two outs to extend their lead out to 3-0. Avery Goelz started the rally with a walk, which was followed up by Adams’ fifth bunt for a hit of the season. Lindsey then loaded the bases with a five-pitch walk, which prompted the Gamecocks to make a call to the bullpen and bring in Kelsey Oh.

Charla Echols went on to score Goelz in the next at-bat with a bases loaded RBI walk.

South Carolina bounced back to strike for a run in the 4th inning to close down the Florida lead to 3-1 via a solo home run from Jordan Fabian to left field.

The Gators were able to get the run back in the home half of the inning and capped their scoring for the day via a SAC fly from Echols to right field that scored Sarah Longley. Longley drew a leadoff walk, which was followed by another walk drawn by Goelz and Lindsey loaded the bases with the third walk of the inning before Oh was replaced by Cayla Drotar in the circle.

The Gamecocks attempted to rally in the 7th and was able to score an additional run via a pair of doubles. Riley Blampied dropped in a shallow double away from the shift to right field and Chooch Carroll drove her home with a double to the gap in left center. Chronister went on to close out the game with a strikeout and a groundout to Goelz at first.

Florida steps out of conference play just one more time during the 2021 regular season as the Gators will host Florida A&M this upcoming Wednesday at 6 p.m.

Bailiegh Carlton
A lifelong sports fan, Bailiegh Carlton knew from a young age that she wanted to work in sports in some capacity. Before transferring to the University of Florida to study journalism, she played softball at Gulf Coast State College. She then interned for Gator Country for three years as she worked toward her degree. After graduation, Bailiegh decided to explore other opportunities in the world of sports, but all roads led her right back here. In her time away, she and her husband welcomed a beautiful baby girl into the world. When she isn't working, she can almost always be found snuggled up with sweet baby Ridley, Cody and her four fur babies.