Special report on the Florida Gators softball team:
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The seventh-ranked Florida softball team picked up its fourth win over a Top 25 opponent with a 10-3 victory over UCF Wednesday night at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.
The Gators (28-5) downed the Knights (29-8) for the second time this season and snapped their 18-game win streak behind combined effort in the circle from Elizabeth Hightower (9-1) and Natalie Lugo. UF’s offense also tallied nine hits, four of which went for extra bases, and four stolen bases.
Florida struck for a pair of runs in the bottom of the 1st inning of play to take a 2-0 lead over UCF. Skylar Wallace led off the frame with a full-count hit-by-pitch, then proceeded to steal her 29th base of the season to move into scoring position for Charla Echols.
Echols doubled to left center field to score Wallace and was later driven home on Reagan Walsh’s RBI single to center.
The Knights bounced back and struck for a run in the top half of the 2nd inning via a triple by Katie Burge down the right field line that scored Denali Schappacher, but UF responded with a big six-run inning in home half of the frame to stretch the lead out to 8-1.
Kendra Falby led off the frame with a full-count walk, then stole her 23rd bag of the year. Avery Goelz notched an infield single to move Falby to third and she proceeded to steal her first base of the year to put runners at second and third with no outs.
With an open bag at first base, the Knights issued a four-pitch walk to Wallace to load the bases. Hannah Adams stepped into the box and ripped a shot to shallow center field, but a diving grab by Johneisha Row limited the damage momentarily to just a sacrifice fly that scored Falby from third.
Echols walked to reload the bases and set the table for Cheyenne Lindsey. Lindsey, a Chattanooga, Tenn. native, lifted a line drive to center field that was dropped by UCF’s left fielder when allowed Goelz to score from third for the team’s second sacrifice fly of the evening that extended the lead out to 4-1.
Florida closed out the 2nd inning of play with back-to-back two-RBI doubles by Katie Kistler and Emily Wilkie to push the lead out to 8-1.
The Gators pushed out their lead to 9-1 in the following inning when Wallace bolted home a fielder’s choice at first base to which the throw was not in time and UCF rallied in the top of the 4th inning to close the lead down to 9-3 on a two-RBI triple by Shappacher.
Adams put the game away in the bottom of the 6th inning with her third home run of the season and capped the scoring at 10-3. The Hoschton, Ga. native belted the 1-2 offering over the right center field wall.
Additionally, the Gators turned a pair of double plays that held UCF’s offense in check in both the 3rd and 6th frames of action.
Florida takes to the road this weekend for another Top 25 series at No. 17 Auburn this Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
* Katie Kistler provided her first multi-RBI game of the year when she had the bases juiced in the 2nd inning driving a single into right center field to score two.
* The Orange Park, Fla. native registered her fifth multi-hit game going 2-for-4.
* Kistler has been at her best against the Knights as she went 3-for-3 with three runs scored in their first meeting on Feb. 27.
* Hannah Adams notched her fifth multi-RBI game via a sacrifice fly in the 2nd inning, a fielder’s choice RBI in the 3rd inning and a homer to right center field in the 6th inning.
* The home run in the 6th inning was her third of the year after she homered twice against James Madison (Feb. 27).
* This marked the senior’s first game with three RBI this season.
* Emily Wilkie collected her second multi-RBI game by dropping a two-run double down the left field line in the 2nd inning.
* Both multi-RBI games have come against top-25 ranked teams as the first came Saturday (March 26) against No.15/14 Tennessee when she sent a two-run shot over the left field wall.
* Skylar Wallace continues to run rampant on the base paths with her second consecutive game with two or more stolen bags.
* The Woodstock, Ga. native is a perfect 30-for-30 and has recorded 10 games with multiple stolen bases.
* Wallace entered Wednesday ranked fourth in the nation and first in the SEC in stolen bases.
* Avery Goelz produced her second straight multi-hit game with a 2-for-3 night after going 2-for-3 in the win against No. 15/14 Tennessee (March 27).
* This was the sophomore’s eighth multi-hit game of the season.
* Reagan Walsh became the third Gator with a multi-hit performance in the win with a double down the left field line in the 6th inning and an RBI single to center field in the 1st inning.
* The freshman now has seven multi-hit games on the year.
* Elizabeth Hightower and Natalie Lugo combined to hold UCF to just three runs in the win as Hightower allowed three runs through 5.0 innings and Lugo dealt 2.0 hitless innings.
* UCF entered the night ranked 13th in the nation with 6.78 runs scored per game.
* The Gators improve their overall record against UCF to 24-7 in the all-time standings.
* Florida improves to 16-3 at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium when they face the UCF Knights.
* The Gators are ranked 2nd in the nation in stolen bases. The Gators stole a total of four bases tonight and have now had 22 games this season with multiple stolen bases.
* Florida’s 10 runs tonight make it the 7th time this season that they have scored 10 or more runs in a game.
* Florida came into tonight’s game with a .342 national batting average. Tonight, marks the third time the Gators had 10 RBIs in a single game.