Matthews pushes Florida Gators softball past South Carolina

Special report on the Florida Gators softball team:

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – No. 9 Florida pushed forward in the 2019 Southeastern Conference tournament after a 6-5 come-from-behind victory against No. 20 South Carolina Wednesday at Davis Diamond.  Jordan Matthews provided the walk-off heroics with her two-RBI double of the wall in left center field gap.

The Gators (41-15) battled with the Gamecocks (36-17) after both teams endured a 4 hour and 58 minute weather delay that started with one out in the top of the second.

Freshman right-handed pitcher Elizabeth Hightower was off to a hot start after she struck out three of the first four South Carolina batters she faced prior to the lengthy delay. USC’s offense was able to adjust over the break and put up four runs in the second and third innings.

Natalie Lugo entered in relief in the fourth and turned in three solid innings of work before she gave way to Katie Chronister (1-0) with one out in the seventh.

UF’s rally in the sixth cut down the Gamecocks lead to 4-2, which set the stage for the largest comeback of the season with a four-run inning in the seventh.

The Gators picked up seven of its nine hits from the bottom half of the order with Hannah Adams, Sophia Reynoso and Matthews recording two hits a piece.

Next Up
Florida advances to face No. 3-seed LSU Thursday, March 9, at 4 p.m. (ET)/3 p.m. (CT) at Davis Diamond on the SEC Network.

Inning Score Play
T-2nd 0-1 After almost a five hour delay, South Carolina’s Cayla Drotar put the Gamecocks ahead with a solo home run to left field.
T-3rd 0-3 The Gamecocks extended their lead after leadoff batter Mackenzie Boesel lifted a ball over the center field wall for a two-run home run.
T-3rd 0-4 Kennedy Clark pushed out the lead for USC with a solo home run to right field.
B-6th 2-4 The Gators cut down the Gamecocks lead after a pair of infield errors. Jana John’s committed a throwing error which allowed Hannah Adams and Sophia Reynoso to race home.
T-7th 2-5 USC plated a single run in the final frame to cap the scoring. Clark singled up the middle to score Boesel.
B-7th 3-5 The Gators’ rally began when Jordan Roberts ripped an RBI single to the right center field gap that plated Kendyl Lindaman.
B-7th 4-5 A fielding error by Madison Owens at first base on a sharply hit ground ball by Reynoso scored pinch-runner Amanda Beane.
B-7th 6-5 Matthews provided the walk-off heroics with an RBI double to left center field that scored Reynoso and Hannah Adams.

Standout Statistic

The Gators trailed 4-0 to the Gamecocks heading into the sixth inning of play tonight and rallied to win 6-5 for fifth come-from-behind victory of the season.

  • Tonight’s comeback victory was the largest since UF rallied from being down 5-0 heading into the bottom of the fourth against Texas A&M (April 25, 2015). The Gators went on to win that game 9-5.

Notable Notes

  • The Gators now hold a 29-27 record in SEC Tournament play.
  • Florida has now won its’ last 12 games against the Gamecocks and holds an all-time 50-20 record.
  • UF scored four runs in the seventh inning of tonight’s game and have outscored opponents 23-10 in the seventh inning.
  • Jaimie Hoover has registered a hit in six of the last eight games played and has driven in eight RBI over that span.
  • Lindaman has reached base safely in her last 14 games and has reached base safely in 54 of the 56 games played this season.
  • Tonight’s win over No. 20 South Carolina was the team’s 16th victory over a top-25 opponent this season.

Quotables

Head Coach Tim Walton
Opening statement …
First of all, great job to the grounds crew getting the field to be to playable. We talked to them early in the season when we were here, and they said it’s a great sand base and we needed it today. It was a pretty scary little moment for College Station, and hope everybody is okay. [The Tournament] is a good chance to see some good softball, it’s fun. I think the cool thing is players have moments, Sofia [Reynoso] had a couple nice moments today and [Hannah] Adams, and obviously Jordan Matthews is no stranger to big moments. We are really happy for that, happy our pitching staff was able to bandage the game together. To get in and out of trouble a little bit and use our defense when we needed to.

Shortstop Sophia Reynoso
On continuing in the SEC Tournament …
I think it is just us really picking it up, now that it is the post season we need to take a step forward to start playing better softball in every game we play. I think we are going in with the intent that we are going to play better than we have all year and make things happen. I think that showed tonight with the pitchers that pitched and our defense. Our offense really stepped up and made things happen, I think it shows from the past games that we played, we are taking a big step in the right direction for post season.

Firstbase/DP Jordan Matthews
On her last at bat …
It was very nice. I wasn’t looking for anything, just to make good contact. I know honestly, I was thinking just one more run. Just to hit a deep enough sac. I wasn’t trying to do too much.

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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.