Special report on the Florida Gators softball team:
TAMPA – The No.8-ranked Florida softball team rolled its way to a pair of victories against North Dakota State, 5-0, and Longwood, 9-0 (5), during the opening day of the Bubly Invitational at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium Friday.
Head Coach Tim Walton earned his 900th career victory in the win over North Dakota State (2-4) and became the second fastest softball coach in history to earn 900 NCAA Division I wins. He now holds a career record of 901-232 (.795) after UF finished the evening with a victory over Longwood.
The Florida offense cranked out at least10 hits for the third time in seven games played this season in the shutout victory over North Dakota State. Sophomore Cheyenne Lindsey and Charla Echols both notched their third multi-hit games of the season as Lindsey was 2-for-3 and Echols was 2-for-4 in the effort.
Freshman Rylee Trlicek (3-0) hurled 6.1 shutout innings and limited the Bison to just four hits on 79 total pitches for her third win of the season. Sophomore Elizabeth Hightower entered in relief to close out the game for Walton’s 900th career victory.
In the second game against Longwood, the Gators were able to produced its third shutout of the season thanks to the efforts of junior Natalie Lugo and sophomore Danni Farley.
Lugo hurled 3.0 innings of no-hit softball before Farley entered in relief in the 4th inning. Farley limited the Lancers to just a pair of hits over the final two frames to secure the run-rule victory.
Offensively, sophomore Charla Echols caught fire going 2-for-3 with a pair of home runs that pushed across five of the nine runs on the day. Lindaman and Reynoso also notched multi-hit games as the both went 2-for-3.
How It Happened – North Dakota – W, 5-0
Lindsey placed a ground ball through the right side of the Bison infield and Cottrill raced home from second to give the Gators the initial lead.
Caraway placed an infield single to the shortstop to score Echols from third and extend the Gators lead out to two runs.
Echols pushed across Lindsey and Adams in the 5th inning with her two-RBI single through the right side of the Bison infield.
Lindaman doubled with two outs in the Gators last scoring opportunity of the game to score Adams from second base.
How It Happened – Longwood – W,
Echols blasted her third home run of the season and gave the Gators an early 3-0 lead when she clobbered the 2-1 offering from Backstrom over the right field fence.
Reynoso drove in Goddard from third on her infield single to extend the lead.
With the bases still loaded, Lindsey followed up Reynoso’s productive at-bat with a SAC fly to deep center field that scored Caraway.
Echols lifted another long ball over the right field wall for her second home run of the night and scored Lindaman from second.
Hoover doubled down the left field line in the 4th to extend the Gators lead and score Caraway from second.
Reynoso followed up with a double of her own, this time in the right center field gap, to score Hoover from second.
Head Coach Tim Walton became the second fastest softball head coach to reach 900 NCAA Division I wins in the Gators 5-0 victory over North Dakota State. Walton, in just his 18th season as a head coach, achieved the feat in just 1,132 career games.
He’s only 63rd coach in NCAA history and only the 36th current Division I head coach to reach the milestone. As of tonight, there are only 22 active head coaches with at least 900 career wins.
Walton still holds the nation’s highest win percentage among active NCAA Division I coaches with a .795 mark (min. 11 seasons).
Mike Candrea, Arizona*
Tim Walton, Wichita State & Florida*
Patrick Murphy, Alabama*
Yvette Girouard, LSU & Louisiana*
JoAnne Graf, Florida State*
Quotable – Head Coach Tim Walton
On his 900 career wins…
“It’s a great accomplishment to reach a number like that. I’m really just thankful to the players that we’ve recruited. Also, the staff, the trainers, the managers and the coaches who have all put in a lot of hard work to help our players not only achieve great individual accomplishments, but establish a high level of consistency for our program year in and year out.”
* The Gators improved their all-time records against North Dakota State, 4-0, and Longwood, 12-0.
* Charla Echols tied her single-game career-high with a two home run performance against Longwood.
* The Newnan, Ga. native also tallied a career-high five RBI in the win.
* In back-to-back games the Gators produced three players with multi-hit games.
* North Dakota State | Lindaman (2-for-3), Echols (2-for-4) and Lindsey (2-for-3)
* Longwood | Lindaman (2-for-3), Echols (2-for-3) and Reynoso (2-for-3)
* The Gators have recorded three games with 10 or more hits so far this season. In comparison, UF only amassed 13 games of 10 or more hits during the 2019 season.