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NCAA Softball Champ. - Blacksburg Super Regional - Game 2, Series tied 1-1 - Cookeville, Tennessee

Gators earn split with Hokies, force decisive Game 3

191 days ago
Florida Athletics
Photo: Florida Athletics

BLACKSBURG, Va. - No.14-seed Florida bounced back to defeat No.3-seed Virginia Tech, 7-2, Saturday afternoon in game two to force a winner-take-all game three after the team fell, 6-0, in game one earlier in the day at Tech Softball Park. UF and VT had to halt game one of the series at the end of the fourth inning Friday evening due to rain and deteriorating field conditions.

The Gators (47-17) and the Hokies (46-9) resumed Friday's halted game one Saturday morning. Despite facing a 6-0 deficit, the Orange & Blue found a way to build momentum over the remaining three innings of play. The momentum gained eventually rolled over into game two of the series that afternoon.

Florida was able to close out the first game with back-to-back scoreless innings on defense that featured highlight worthy plays from freshman Kendra Falby, fifth-year graduate Hannah Adams and a double play by redshirt-junior Skylar Wallace. The two scoreless frames by the Hokies were the first in the series after they had scored in each of the first four innings.

After the conclusion of game one, the two programs swapped dugouts and regrouped to prepare for the second game of the series. Florida retained the momentum gained at the end of the series opener and hammered away at the Virginia Tech pitching staff for 10 total hits.

Four Gators produced multi-hit games en-route to the program's fourth 10-hit game out of five played in the 2022 NCAA Tournament. Falby (2-for-4), Adams (2-for-3), Wallace (2-for-3) and Walsh (2-for-3) led the charge for UF's 7-2 victory. The seven runs are the most scored by the Orange & Blue in a super regional game since May 23, 2015 in game one against Kentucky.

Freshman Lexie Delbrey received her first NCAA Super Regional start in the second game of the series and held the Hokies offense at-bay for three-consecutive innings, which allowed Florida's offense to strike first.

Falby started the rally in the third with a bunt single and Adams moved the duo into scoring position with a double to left center field. Falby scored the first run of the game to give the Orange & Blue a 1-0 lead later in the inning when Charla Echols put the ball in play to Virginia Tech's second baseman who failed to make the play for the second out of the inning.

The Hokies responded to tie the game in the top of the fourth 1-1 via a bases loaded walk and took the lead 2-1 in the fifth on back-to-back doubles, but the Gators seized momentum back and regained the lead 5-2 in the home half of the frame with a four-run frame.

Adams led the inning off with a hit-by-pitch and back-to-back doubles by Wallace and Echols plated two runs and a second hit-by-pitch prompted the Hokies to remove freshman Emma Lemley (16-6) from the game. Virginia Tech opted to bring in ace and game one winner Keely Rochard to try and slow down the Gators offense.

Florida however went on to plate two more runs via Katie Kistler's RBI groundout and a sacrifice squeeze bunt by Sam Roe.

The Orange and Blue kept the pressure on and scored two more insurance runs to take a 7-2 lead in the sixth on Wallace's RBI double off the wall in center field and Walsh's RBI single down the left field line.

In the circle, fifth-year graduate Natalie Lugo (10-5) entered in relief of Delbrey in the top of the fifth inning of play and held the Hokies scoreless for the final 2 2/3 innings of play.

The two teams will square-off tomorrow for game three of the series Sunday at 2 p.m. on ESPN.

Notables:

  • The Gators are 22-11 all-time during the NCAA Super Regional round of the NCAA Tournament. Overall, the program is 98-48 all-time in the tournament.
  • UF is 7-1 all-time against Virginia Tech and 2-1 when playing in the NCAA Tournament.
  • With today's one stolen base, Florida surpassed it's single-season record of 129 that was set during the 2007 season.
  • Skylar Wallace (50) and Kendra Falby (36) are now the only duo in program history to have at-least 36 stolen bases in a season.
  • Falby tied Kelsey Stewart's freshman record of 36 that she set in 2013.
  • The Gators have outscored opponents 35-8 in the NCAA Tournament.
  • Florida has produced 10 or more hits in four out of the five NCAA Tournament games this year.
  • In addition, the Gators 10 hits are tied for the most hit by the Gators in an NCAA Super Regional game. The last time occurred May 24, 2008 against California.
  • UF's seven runs in game two today are the most runs scored by the program in a super regional game since May 24, 2015 against Kentucky. It's also tied for the fifth most runs scored in a super regional game in program history.