GAINESVILLE, Fla. - The No.11-ranked Florida softball team cruised to a pair of victories over Mercer, 8-3, and FGCU, 8-0 (6), Friday evening at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. UF combined for 25 total hits en route to the doubleheader sweep.
The afternoon slate of games was kicked-off with a pregame ceremony that recognized head coach Tim Walton for his 1,000 career wins. Athletic Director Scott Stricklin presented Walton with a framed photo that commemorated the achievement prior to UF's first game.
The Gators (40-14) defeated the Bears (16-36) convincingly with four multi-hit performances by Kendra Falby (3-for-4), Cheyenne Lindsey (2-for-3), Katie Kistler (2-for-2) and Cali Decker (2-for-3), while Kistler (2-for-3), Decker (2-for-2), Avery Goelz (3-for-3) and Charla Echols (3-for-3) spearheaded the Orange & Blue's offense against the Eagles (16-33) in game two. Echols tied her season-high with her three hits and Goelz tied her career-high with her trio of hits against FGCU.
In the circle, Lexie Delbrey (13-2) picked up the victory over Mercer while Rylee Trlicek earned her third save of the season and Elizabeth Hightower (13-7) capped the evening off with a two-hit, complete-game shutout against the Eagles. The complete-game shutout performance was Hightower's fourth of the season and 15th overall of her career.
Kistler was electric to start the day against Mercer as the Orange Park, Fla. native belted an inside-the-park home run in the third inning and followed up with a two-RBI triple in the fifth. The sophomore outfielder finished the game with a career-high four RBI, while Echols, Lindsey, Decker and Sarah Longley each drove in a run a piece.
Echols followed Kistler's career day at the plate with a season-high three hits in the nightcap against the Eagles. The Newnan, Ga. native salted the game away in the sixth with her 12th double of the season, which was then followed by Lindsey's fifth double to drive in pinch-runner Christina Wellen for the game-ending run.
A total of five different Gators notched extra-base hits in the effort against FGCU as Echols' and Lindsey's extra-base knocks were accompanied by doubles from Decker and Goelz, while Wallace scorched her fifth triple of the season.
The Gators return to action Saturday at 12 p.m. against FGCU and 2:30 p.m. versus Mercer to close out the 2022 regular season.
- Florida improved their overall all-time series record against Mercer to 9-0 and 7-1 against Florida Gulf Coast University.
- For the third time this season, Florida recorded an inside the park homerun. Sophomore Katie Kistler homered inside the park in the bottom of the third inning in game one against Mercer to extend the Gators lead to 3-0. Freshman Kendra Falby homered inside the park on March 14, against Mississippi State. Redshirt- junior Skylar Wallace homered inside the park on March 6, versus Coastal Carolina
- The Gators stole a combined six bases in tonight's doubleheader. Five stolen bases in game one versus Mercer Marks the 20th time Florida has stolen three or more bases in a game.
- One stolen base in game two against FGCU Tonight's 11 hits in game one and 14 hits in game two marks the 21st time this season that the Gators have registered 10 or more hits in a game.
- The Gators held FGCU to just two in tonight's win, which is the 12th time this season UF has held an opponent to two hits or less. The last time Florida held their opponent to two hits was on April 30, against LSU.
- Tonight's shutout victory over FGCU marks the 15th shutout of the season for Florida. The last shutout victory for the Gators was on April 27, against Stetson.
- Tonight's run-rule victory over FGCU marks the 10th run-rule victory of the season for the Gators. The last run-rule victory of the season was on March 20, at Texas A&M (W, 11-3).