Special report on the Florida Gators softball team:
GAINESVILLE, Fla. –The fifth-ranked Florida softball team defeated Florida A&M 19-3 in five innings Wednesday evening at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. The 16-run difference is tied for the 7th largest margin of victory in UF history.
Freshman Natalie Lugo (2-0) received her second career start in the circle and was brilliant throughout her 4.1 innings. The West Covina, Calif. native only issued a walk and recorded seven strikeouts in the effort.
Florida (38-7) opened the game against Florida A&M (19-24) with a trio of runs. Kayli Kvistad highlighted the inning’s scoring with her two-RBI single that plated Hannah Adams and Amanda Lorenz. Adams singled to start the game while Lorenz reached with her 42nd walk of the season.
Jordan Matthews drove in Nicole DeWitt on a groundout back to the circle to round out the scoring in the first.
The Gators blew open the game and extended the lead out to 15-0 after pushing across 12 runs on seven hits. A total of 17 batters made their way to the plate in the inning with Lorenz and DeWitt driving in runs in each of their two plate appearances to lead the way.
A pair of home runs fueled a four-run inning in the third, which stretched the Florida lead out to 19-0. Jordan Roberts ripped a solo home run to lead off the inning and three-run home run by Jaimie Hoover capped the scoring for the frame.
Florida A&M foiled the bid for a shutout in the top of the fifth inning with three runs. Lugo issued a one-out walk to Alexis Day before being relieved by Katie Chronister. The Rattlers then strung together three hits and a walk to close the lead down to 19-3.
Florida returns to Southeastern Conference action Friday, April 20, with a three game series against Mississippi State at Nusz Park at 7 p.m. (ET)/ 6 p.m. (CT).
On Natalie’s performance…
“One kid hit the ball pretty hard, but other than that, she did a great job tonight. She had a lot of strikeouts and she commanded her pitches well today. She had a perfect game going, so we left her in for that. My original goal was to let her go three (innings) and have Katie (Chronister) throw the last two. When she lost the perfect game, then we decided to throw Katie.”
On team’s approach at the plate…
“We did a great job. We still walked plenty, swung at strikes and squared up some balls up really well. I am happy with the way Jaimie Hoover and Jordan Roberts came through with two strikes. Alex Voss got a double through the gap and Sophia Reynoso hit the ball hard all day. Our players continue to do what they do, I was pleased with our approach and thought the at-bats were good tonight.”
From the Players
“I was really trusting my defense today, so I wasn’t worried about the perfect game. It was nice to throw well, but I wasn’t focusing on it. It’s always really nice to have run support, especially 12 runs in one inning. It takes a lot of pressure off my shoulders and helps me throw with more confidence.”
“We put the ball in play a lot. We weren’t trying to force anything or hit the ball too hard, but things fell for us and we were able to put 12 (runs) up in the inning.”
“It’s important for our younger girls to have those hits tonight, it gives them the confidence as we move on with SEC and postseason play.”
· Florida improved to 18-0 all-time against Florida A&M
o The team is now 25-4 against nonconference opponents and 22-2 against unranked teams.
· Tonight’s 16-run margin of victory is tied for the 7th largest margin of victory in UF history.
· The Gators scored three runs in the first inning against the Rattlers. It’s the 29th time this season the team has scored in the first inning.
o The team scored 12 runs in the third and four in the third. Florida has now scored four or more runs in an inning 26 times in 45 games.
o The last time the program scored 10 or more runs in an inning was against North Dakota State (March 15, 2017) when the Gators plated exactly 10 runs.
· Amanda Lorenz went 1-for-2 at the plate with a walk. She has now reached bases safely in all 45 games this season.
o Lorenz has reached base safely in all but seven games over her career for the Gators.
· Josie Page recorded the first collegiate hit of her career with a single in the bottom of the third inning and scored her first.