Florida Gators softball claims SEC title

Special report on the Florida Gators softball team:

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – No. 4 Florida won its league-leading ninth Southeastern Conference Regular Season Championship as the team produced a come-from-behind, 6-5, victory over Texas A&M to complete the series sweep Sunday afternoon at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. UF is the only team in the SEC to win all eight of its conference series this season.

With one out and down 5-4 in the bottom of the 7th inning, Julia Cottrill (1-for-2) provided the walk-off heroics in the Gators (40-8, 19-5 SEC) fourth comeback victory over the last six games.

The Wichita, Kan. native blasted her fourth home run of the season, a two-run shot, off the top of the bullpen to score herself and Charla Echols (2-for-4). Echols belted a double to the gap in left center to put the tying run on base in the previous at-bat against reliever Kayla Poynter (9-8).

However, the Gators comeback bid started in the 5th inning of play as the team was down 4-0 after the Aggies (31-20, 19-5 SEC) scored three runs in the 1st and one run in the 4th inning. Baylee Goddard drew a four-pitch walk to leadoff the frame, which was followed by a one-out two-run home run by Hannah Adams (1-for-4) that closed the lead down to 4-2.

The rally continued as Echols picked up a two-out single to right field, Cottrill then drew a full-count walk and freshman Emily Wilkie was hit by the 0-1 offering from Makinzy Herzog to load the bases for Jaimie Hoover(1-for-3). Hoover tied the game 4-4 with a two-RBI single back up the heart of the Aggies infield that scored Echols easily from third and Cottrill, who had to produce an elaborate slide to avoid the tag at home play to tie the game.

Katie Chronister (9-2), who entered the game in the 4th inning, only gave up one hit over her 3.1 innings pitch. The hit was a solo home run that gave Texas A&M the 5-4 lead in top of the 6thinning, which also broke up a 10.2 inning scoreless and hitless streak for Chronister. However, the Gainesville, Fla. native bounced back to record five of the last six batters she faced.

The Gators will enter the upcoming SEC Tournament as the No. 1 seed due to having the tie-breaker over second-seeded Arkansas. UF holds the better record against the highest seeded common opponent which is Alabama.

Andrew Spivey
Andrew always knew he wanted to be involved with sports in some capacity. He began by coaching high school football for six years before deciding to pursue a career in journalism. While coaching, he was a part of two state semifinal teams in the state of Alabama. Given his past coaching experience, he figured covering recruiting would be a perfect fit. He began his career as an intern for Rivals.com, covering University of Florida football recruiting. After interning with Rivals for six months, he joined the Gator Country family as a recruiting analyst. Andrew enjoys spending his free time on the golf course and watching his beloved Atlanta Braves. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewSpiveyGC.