TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - No.1-seed Florida rallied early Thursday afternoon to defeat No.9-seed Mississippi State, 6-2, to advance to the semifinal round of the SEC Softball Tournament at Rhoads Stadium. It's the program's 11th comeback win of the season.
The Gators (41-8) overcame the early 2-0 deficit via a pair of three-run home runs from Kendyl Lindaman (3-for-4) and Charla Echols (3-for-4) to defeat the Bulldogs (33-23). The program is now 4-0 against MSU this season as UF also picked up a three-game series sweep in Starkville, Miss. earlier this season.
Mississippi State was able to jump out in front, 2-0, in the top of the 2nd inning thanks to a Jackie McKenna two-out double down the left field line. From that moment, Florida right-handed starting pitcher. Elizabeth Hightower buckled down and went on to pitch 2.1 scoreless frames afterwards.
Hightower was eventually relieved by Natalie Lugo (15-2) in the 5th inning and the West Covina, Calif. native held Mississippi State to just one hit in the final three frames of action.
Florida's offense struck in the bottom half of the 5th inning to take the lead 3-2. Freshman Emily Wilkie drew a one-out hit-by-pitch to start the rally, which was followed by Echols' second hit of the day.
With two on and one out, the stage was set for Lindaman's 69th career home run. The Ankeny, Iowa native drove the 3-2 offering from Mississippi State's Annie Willis (16-9) over the right field wall.
The Gators added insurance runs in the bottom of the 6th with Echols' team-leading 14th home run of the season. Cheyenne Lindsey (1-for-3) and Hannah Adams (1-for-3) produced back-to-back one out singles and Echols drove them in with her three-run shot off reliever Alyssa Loza.
The Gators will play either No.4-seed Missouri or No.5-seed LSU Friday at 4 p.m. (ET) ESPN2.
- The Gators earned the No. 1 seed for the SEC Tournament for the ninth time in program history, which is the most among SEC schools.
- The Gators now hold a 33-27 (.550) record in the SEC Tournament and holds the third best winning percentage among SEC programs in SEC Tournament play.
- The 33 all-time wins are the third most by any SEC program in the tournament
- UF's five SEC Tournament Championships are tied for the most among programs alongside LSU and Alabama.
- Florida - 2008, 2009, 2013, 2018, 2019
- Alabama - 1998, 2003, 2005, 2010, 2012
- LSU - 1999, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2007
- The No. 1 seed in the SEC Tournament holds a 55-15 record and the Gators hold 17-5 record as the top seed.
- The Gators, the reigning tournament champs, won back-to-back titles in 2018 and 2019.
- No team has won three-straight SEC Tournament Championships.
- Only three programs have won back-to-back tournament titles and the Gators are the only program to have done it twice.
- LSU - 2001 & 2002
- Auburn - 2015 & 2016
- Florida - 2008 & 2009, 2018 & 2019
- Florida played Mississippi State earlier in the regular season in Starkville, Miss.
- The Gators swept the Bulldogs 1-0, 10-0 and 8-0 (5) in the three-game series.
- The program holds a 42-21 record all-time over MSU.
- The Gators are 2-3 against the Bulldogs all-time in the tournament
- May 9, 1998 | L, 1-0 | Columbus, Ga.
- May 10, 1998 | L, 1-0 | Columbus, Ga.
- May 10, 2001 | L, 1-0 | Chattanooga, Tenn.
- May 10, 2007 | W, 3-0 | Auburn, Ala.
- May 13, 2021 | W, 6-2 | Tuscaloosa, Ala.
- The Gators have a total of 11 comeback victories on the season, with its largest being a comeback from a 4-0 deficit to Texas A&M in the regular season finale.
- The program overcame an early 2-0 deficit to MSU in the 2nd inning.
- The SEC Tournament is the first neutral site games for the Gators this season.
- UF is now 1-0 in neutral site games.
- Hannah Adams (1-for-3) is now on a six-game hitting streak.
- The Hoschton, Ga. native has reached base safely in 34 consecutive games. Overall, she has reached base safely in 48-of-49 games played.
- Charla Echols and Kendyl Lindaman turned in their 16th and 8th multi-hit games of the year.
- Echols has reached base safely in 31 consecutive games.
- Kendyl Lindaman belted her 69th career home run and seventh of the season.
- She ranks 4th among active NCAA career leaders in home runs.