Special report on the Florida Gators softball team:
TAMPA – The No.7-ranked Florida softball team split games on the second day of the USF-Rawlings Invitational as the program defeated Fresno State, 6-4, before it fell 11-2 (6) to No. 17 Michigan at the USF Softball Stadium Saturday afternoon.
Charla Echols and Cheyenne Lindsey paced the Gators (2-1) at the plate in the win against the Bulldogs. Echols went 3-for-4 with a pair of RBIs, while Lindsey posted a career-high 3-for-3 outing with two RBI that included her first collegiate home run.
Rylee Trlicek received her first career start and worked 3.0 innings, before she gave way to sophomore Elizabeth Hightower (1-0) in the fourth inning. Hightower held the Bulldogs to just one additional run and a pair of hits over the next three innings to earn her first win of the season.
Junior Natalie Lugo (1) entered in the final frame with a pair of runners on first and second with no outs to earn her first save of the season. The West Covina, Calif. native forced a popup and struck out two to secure the win.
Lugo (1-1) received the start in the second game of the day against the Wolverines and recorded two quick outs before Michigan rallied to take an initial 5-0 lead with the help of a pair of defensive miscues by the Gators.
The Wolverines tacked on a pair of runs in the 3rd inning to take a 7-0 lead, but senior Kendyl Lindaman put the Gators on the scoreboard in the bottom of the frame with a monstrous solo home run over the left center field wall.
UF threatened to close down the Michigan lead even further in the bottom of the 4th inning. With the bases loaded and two outs, Lindaman nearly brought the Gators to within two runs with a 229-foot shot to deep center field that was caught at the pads of the 230-foot wall for the third out of the inning.
Echols continued her hot streak at the plate as she cranked her first home run as a Gator in the 5th inning. The Newnan, Ga. native finished the day at the plate 5-for-6 with three RBIs and a walk over the two-game span.
How It Happened – Fresno State – W, 6-4
|T-1st||1-0||Echols ripped an RBI base hit up the middle of the Fresno State infield after Adams and Lindaman sent back-to-back singles through the left side to start the game. Adams scored from second on the play.|
|T-2nd||2-0||Gators manufactured a run in the second frame when Lindsey stroked an RBI double down the right field line that scored Caraway from second base. Caraway reached via single up the middle, then stole second and advanced to third on Reynoso’s SAC bunt.|
|T-3rd||3-0||Roberts plated the Gators third run of the game on an RBI groundout to second base that scored Lindaman from third. Lindaman reached via a walk and advanced to third on Echols base hit to right center field.|
|B-3rd||3-1||Fresno State broke onto the scoreboard after a leadoff triple from Hall and was driven home in the next at-bat by Broussard’s looping single to center field.|
|B-3rd||3-3||With runners on first and second, Jennings tied the game with a sharply hit two-RBI base hit of the middle which results in pinch-runner Martinez scoring easily and a close play at the plate when Rohleder slid home.|
|T-4th||4-3||Echols put the Gators ahead for the second time after she drove in Reynoso from third. Fresno State elected to load the bases in the previous at-bat by intentionally walking Lindaman.|
|T-4th||5-3||Florida’s lead grew when Matthews drew a full-count bases loaded walk that scored Lindsey.|
|T-5th||6-3||Lindsey pushed the lead out even further when she belted a two-out solo home run over the left field wall.|
|B-5th||6-4||Fresno State trimmed the lead down with a solo home run of their own by Preston.|
How It Happened – No. 17/14 Michigan – L, 2-11 (6 Innings)
|T-1st||0-2||Michigan initiated a two-out rally in the initial frame of the game and jumped ahead by two runs on a Carson single through the right side.|
|T-1st||0-4||Hoogenraad drove in Carson and Bump with a two-out 2 RBI double to right field.|
|T-1st||0-5||Gonzalez reached on an uncharacteristic error by the Gators defense, which allowed Hoogenraad to score the final run of the frame.|
|T-3rd||0-6||Gonzalez drove in Hoogenraad again with a hard-hit infield single to first.|
|T-3rd||0-7||With the bases loaded, Michigan plated its second run of the frame with SAC fly to deep right field by Allan.|
|B-3rd||1-7||Lindaman closed down the Wolverines lead with a monster solo home run well over the wall in left center field.|
|B-5th||2-7||Echols recorded her first home run as a Gator with a thunderous swing that lifted the ball over the right field wall.|
|T-6th||2-8||Allan produced a solo home run to right center to leadoff the top of the frame.|
|T-6th||2-10||Bump followed up with a two-run home run to left field, that scored Overaitis.|
|T-6th||2-11||Skvarce closed out the scoring for the game with an RBI double to left center field.|
- The Gators are now 33-6 in games held during opening weekend.
- The program improved to 4-2 overall against Fresno State and have won the last four meetings.
- UF now holds a 12-10 overall against Michigan and have won 12 out of the last 15 meetings.
- Despite the loss to No. 17/14 Michigan, the Gators still hold an overall record of 260-119 against opponents ranked In the USA Today/NFCA poll and a 257-121 record against teams ranked in the ESPN.com/USA Softball top 25.
- The Gators 10 hits against Fresno State mark the first time the team has produced 10 hits in a game since April 17, 2019 against No. 4 Florida State.
- Walton secured his 896th career victory in the win over Fresno State and sits with an overall record of 896-232 in 18 seasons as a head coach.
- Charla Echols went 5-for-6 at the plate with three RBIs and walk through two games.
Cheyenne Lindsey hit her first collegiate home run against Fresno State and finished the day 3-for-5 at the plate.
Florida will close play that the USF-Rawlings Invitational Sunday with games against Georgia State and USF at 12 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. respectively.