UF's offensive outburst evens out series vs. Gamecocks
COLUMBIA, S.C. - The 13th-ranked Florida softball team evened the series with South Carolina with a game two victory, 8-1, Saturday afternoon at Carolina Softball Stadium.
The Gators (26-8, 4-4 SEC) churned out 12 hits and Elizabeth Hightower (11-4) held the Gamecocks (25-9, 2-6 SEC) to just four in the complete-game effort. Skylar Wallace (3-for-4), Reagan Walsh (2-for-4), Pal Egan (2-for-2) all registered multi-hit games in the win and it was Hightower's fifth complete-game on the year.
The Florida offense wasted no time on breaking onto the scoreboard today as back-to-back two-out home runs by Walsh and Egan put UF ahead 3-0 in the top of the 1st inning of play. Echols preceded the pair of longballs with a two-out double to left center field. Hightower held the Gamecocks offense to just a hit-by-pitch and a walk in the 1st inning and 2nd inning of action, before she retired the side in order in the 3rd inning.
The Gators offense struck for three more runs in the top of the 4th inning that extended their lead out to 6-0. Egan led the frame off with a hit-by-pitch, which was then followed by SAC bunt by Sam Roe to which the throw went wide and move both Roe and Egan to second and third.
Sarah Longley went on to drive home Egan on a SAC fly to center field. Avery Goelz and Katie Kistler loaded the bases later on with a pair of singles to set the table for Skylar Wallace. Wallace drove in Roe on an RBI single to right field and Kendra Falby plated Goelz on an RBI bases loaded walk.
South Carolina found their way onto the scoreboard in the bottom of the 5th inning to close down the Florida lead to 6-1. A pair of back-to-back singles led off the frame and a walk loaded the bases with no outs. Wallace made a play in foul territory at the edge of playable space to retire the first Gamecock, but a fielder's choice in the ensuing at-bat would drive in South Carolina's lone run of the game, before a fly out to left ended the threat.
Florida picked back up the run in the top of the 6th inning to push its lead out to 7-1 thanks to Wallace's sixth triple of the season and Falby's RBI single to second base. UF concluded the scoring in the top of the 7th inning to bring the score to 8-1. Walsh and Egan notched back-to-back singles and a muffed throw allowed Christina Wellen, who pinch-ran for Walsh, and Egan to advance to second and third.
Longley drove in the Wellen via a SAC fly in foul territory down the right field line to cap the scoring.
Notables: Florida 12 hits today marks the 15th time this season that the offense has recorded 10 or more hits in a game. UF's eight runs scored mark the 20th time this season that the team has scored eight or more runs in a game. Wallace tied her career-high for the third time this season with three hits, which included her sixth triple of the season. Pal Egan's 2-for-2 day with two runs scored, an RBI and a home run tie season-highs in hits and runs scored. Kendra Falby's two RBI tie a season-high for the sophomore for the fourth time this season. Elizabeth Hightower's complete-game was her fifth of the season, but only the second seven inning complete-game.
Florida and South Carolina will conclude the series Sunday, April 2, at 1 p.m. on SEC Network+.