No. 13 Florida responds with rout of Hatters
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - The 13th-ranked Florida softball program downed Stetson, 8-0 (6 innings), for the program's 16th run-rule victory of the season Wednesday evening at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.
The Gators (25-7) tied their season-high of four home runs against Hatters (18-6) ace Lauren Hobbs (7-5) en route to the win. Hobbs entered the midweek with wins over Georgia, South Carolina and UCF and held a 1.96 ERA, before facing the Orange & Blue for the first time this season.
Florida got to Hobbs early and blasted its way onto the scoreboard in the initial frame of action as Charla Echols and Reagan Walsh stroked back-to-back two-out home runs to give UF a 2-0 lead over SU.
The home run action continued in the bottom of the 2nd inning when Sarah Longley produced her fifth home run of the season with a shot over the left field wall to extend the Orange & Blue's lead out to 3-0.
The Gators struck for another run in the bottom of the 3rd inning to push the lead out to 4-0 over the Hatters when Pal Egan drove in Kendra Falby via an RBI double to left center field. Falby reached base to leadoff the inning with a bunt single to first base and advanced into scoring position when she swiped her 16th stolen base of the year.
Skylar Wallace was the final batter in the lineup to hit a home run in tonight's contest. The Woodstock, Ga. native lifted the first pitch she saw from Hobbs over the right field wall for a two-run home run that pushed the score out to 6-0. Wilkie was standing on first base after she reached via a one-out hit-by-pitch.
With one out in the top of the 5th inning, Florida went to the bullpen to relieve right-handed starter Lexie Delbrey (6-2). Delbrey pitched effectively for 4 1/3 innings and held the Hatters to just a pair of hits and three walks before she gave way to Rylee Trlicek. Trlicek closed out the top half of the inning with back-to-back strikeouts and finished the top of the 6th inning with a third strikeout before the defense turned a 5-4-3 double play to conclude the inning.
Florida's offense went back to work in the bottom of the 6th inning as Wilkie singled to lead off the frame, while Falby drove pinch-runner Christina Wellen in with an RBI single through the left side. Reagan Walsh capped the scoring with an RBI single down the left field line that ended the game at 8-0.
Florida turns its sights back on to Southeastern Conference play with a three-game series at South Carolina this Friday through Sunday. Friday and Sunday's game will stream via SEC Network +, while Saturday's game is set to air on SEC Network.
- The Gators notched their 16th run-rule victory and 11th shutout of the season with tonight's win over Stetson. Florida has outscored opponents 243-85 so far this season and is averaging 7.59 runs per game.
- Florida tied its season-high with four home runs tonight, which was last achieved at UAB (March 4, 2023). Charla Echols (2-for-4) hit her eighth home run of the season in the 1st inning. Reagan Walsh (2-for-3) hit her third home run of the season in the 1st inning. Sarah Longley (1-for-3) hit her fifth home run in the 2nd inning. Skylar Wallace (1-for-4) hit her team-leading ninth home run in the 4th inning. With the home run, Wallace extended her hitting streak to seven games and has now reached base safely in 28 consecutive games played.
- Kendra Falby went 3-for-4 at the plate with a pair of stolen bases, two runs scored and an RBI.
- Pal Egan went 2-for-3 tonight with an RBI and tied her career-high with a pair of doubles.