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UF Softball: No. 3 Florida Shuts Out FGCU; Walton Earns 950th Career Win

Head Coach Tim Walton holds the highest winning percentage (.798) amongst active NCAA DI head coaches.
Photo by Hannah White

Courtesy of University Athletic Association

BY HERB BROOKS

No. 3 Florida picked up its 14th shutout win of the season with a 3-0 decision Wednesday afternoon at Florida Gulf Coast University. The victory was also the 950th overall win of head coach Tim Walton’s illustrious career.

Walton has a career record of 950-241 (.798) over 19 seasons as a head coach and holds the nation’s highest win percentage among active NCAA DI head coaches.

The Gators (33-6) were able to shut out the Eagles (21-16) by way of a pair of stout pitching performances by starter Natalie Lugo (11-1) and reliever Katie Chronister. Lugo hurled 5.0 complete innings and only allowed three base hits, while she struck out four on just 55 pitches.

Chronister entered at the beginning of the 6th inning and allowed only one runner to reach via hit-by-pitch over 2.0 innings of work to secure her team-leading fourth save of the season. UF currently has a total of 11 saves on the year, with Chronister now being tied for fifth nationally in the category.

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Offensively, Cheyenne Lindsey put Florida ahead 2-0 with a two-run home run to right field in the top of the 1st inning of play. Lindsey drove home Hannah Adams, who reached with a single up the middle to lead off the game, when she lifted the 3-2 offering from Sarah Lawton (7-5) over the right field wall.

The Eagles only really threatened once to score in the game as they were able to put runners on the corners in the 3rd inning with two outs via two of their three hits in the game. Adams dispelled the scoring attempt when she made a great play to retire Reedy Davenport on a popup in shallow center field.

Florida was able to tack on one more run in the final frame of play to extend the lead out to 3-0. Julia Cottrill produced a single to left field and was pinch-ran for by Katie Kistler. Kistler advanced into scoring position on a wild pitch and was later moved over to third on a pinch-hit single by Jordan Matthews to left field.

Avery Goelz reentered the game for Matthews and proceeded to steal her second base of the season before Sarah Longley was hit by a 1-0 pitch to load the bases. Jaimie Hoover drove in Kistler for the final run with her third SAC fly of the season.

The Gators return to Southeastern Conference action this weekend with a three-game series against South Carolina this Friday through Sunday. The program will also celebrate the senior class on Saturday prior to the game on ESPNU.

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