Special report on the Florida Gators softball team:
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The third-ranked Florida softball team pushed past Bowling Green, 10-7, and UConn, 4-3, during the second day of the T-Mobile Tournament at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.
The Gators (8-0) rallied twice and were pushed to compete for a full seven innings in both games against the Falcons (3-5) and the Huskies (2-4) after the team produced six consecutive five-inning run-rule victories to start the year.
In both games Florida leaned on graduate senior Elizabeth Hightower (5-0) as the right-hander entered both contests in relief to shut down the opposing batters and pickup two wins in the process. The Monticello, Fla. native closed out the final 2 2/3 innings as UF mounted a comeback from being down 7-6 in the 5th inning against the Falcons and hurled 3 2/3 innings of relief when the squad rallied from 3-0 deficit in the 4th inning versus the Huskies.
Overall, Hightower pitched 6 1/3 innings with no runs allowed and only two hits to go along with three walks and eight strikeouts.
At the plate, Avery Goelz was nearly perfect on the day as she went 4-for-5 (.800) with three doubles, three RBI, two walks and a run scored. The Myakka City, Fla. native was instrumental in the Gators comeback win over UConn as she closed down the Huskies lead to 3-2 with a two RBI double in the 4th inning.
Skylar Wallace (3-for-6) and Charla Echols (2-for-4) both hit .500, while Sam Roe was 2-for-5 (.400). Wallace scored four times, walked three and drove in one, but Echols and Roe produced the game-winning and walk-off hits in both games.
With the bases loaded and down 7-6 to the Falcons in bottom of the 5th inning of game one, Echols drilled the 0-1 pitch offered to left center that emptied the bases and gave Florida a 9-7 lead that it would never relinquish for the final stretch of innings.
Roe’s heroics came in the bottom of the 7th inning down 3-2 to the Huskies, but before she ever stepped to the plate both Wallace and Echols drew back-to-back walks to set the stage for the walk-off. With Wallace on third and pinch-runner Christina Wellen on second, Roe lifted the first pitched offered down the right field line to keep the Gators record unblemished.
Florida returns to action Sunday on the final day of the T-Mobile Tournament with a pair of games at 11:30 a.m. against Central Michigan and 2 p.m. versus Delaware State.