GAINESVILLE, Fla. - The 16th-ranked Florida softball team was narrowly defeated, 8-7, Wednesday evening by No. 3 Florida State at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium in the second meeting of the Sunshine Showdown.
The Gators (34-17) logged a 7th inning rally that came down to the last at-bat, but it came up just shy and the Seminoles (44-8) escaped with the win. Down one run heading into the final frame of action, Sam Roe registered a leadoff single to right field, which was then followed up by a two-out single to left by Kendra Falby that turned the lineup over to 2023 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Top 10 Finalist Skylar Wallace.
Wallace, who already blasted two solo home runs in the game, was immediately issued an intentional walk to load the bases for Charla Echols. Echols attached the first pitch inside and narrowly missed barreling up the ball, which resulted in a high foul ball behind the plate for the final out of the game.
Florida scored in five of the seven innings in tonight's game, while Florida State capitalized on a three-run inning in the 2nd inning and a four-run inning in the 5th inning. FSU also scratched across a run in the 6th inning.
The Gators struck first in the bottom of the 1st inning of play to take a 1-0 lead over Mack Leonard and the Seminoles. Skylar Wallace led the frame off with a walk and moved into scoring position during Charla Echols' at-bat via a pair of wild pitches from Leonard. Echols eventually drove in Wallace for her 59th RBI of the season after a seven-pitch at-bat resulted in a groundout to the right side of the infield.
The Seminoles struck back in the top of the 2nd inning to take a 3-1 lead, but that was erased by a two-run frame by the Gators in the bottom of the 3rd inning that tied the game 3-3. Wallace gave back the Gators the lead 4-3 in the bottom of the 4th inning of play with her first home run of the day. The Woodstock, Ga. native lifted the two-out 0-1 offering from Allison Royalty over the right field wall for her 17th home run of the season.
Florida State answered back with a four-run top of the 5th inning to regain the lead and stretch the score out to 7-4. Katie Dack struck for a two-RBI single that just snuck inside the left field line past the third base bag, while Jahni Kerr followed with a two-RBI double to left field.
The Gators battled back in the home half of the 5th inning and trimmed the Seminoles lead down to 7-6. Pal Egan led the inning off with hit-by-pitch, which set the table for Sarah Longley's sixth home run of the season. The two-run blast by Longley hit off the top of the home bullpen and gave momentum back to the Orange & Blue.
Florida State managed to scratch across an insurance run in the top of the 6th inning to push the lead out to 8-6. Michaela Edenfield drew a full-count walk to lead off the inning and her pinch-runner Amaya Ross stole second and advanced to third when the ball found its way to the backstop to put a runner on third with no outs. Mack Leonard drove in Ross with a SAC fly to left in the next at-bat.
The Gators offense continued to battle and Wallace led the charge once again as she led off the bottom of the 6th inning with her second home run of the game and 18th of the year via a solo blast this time to left center field that cut the Seminoles lead down to 8-7.
Florida now heads to Lexington, Ky. for a three-game series against Kentucky at John Cropp Stadium this Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
- Skylar Wallace notched her 15th multi-hit game going 2-for-3 with two home runs, three runs scored and two RBI. It's also her 13th multi-RBI game of the year. She also extended her reached base streak to 16 games and has now reached in 46 of the 47 games played this year. The pair of home runs was her second multi-home run game of her career. The Woodstock, Ga. native is now on a four-game hit-streak.
- Kendra Falby went 2-for-4 tonight for her team-leading 18th multi-hit game of the year and she is now on a seven-game hit-streak.
- Sarah Longley cranked her sixth home run of the season and her two-run shot also notched her sixth multi-RBI game of the year.