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UF Softball: No. 4 Gators Claim Ninth SEC Regular Season Title with Comeback Victory Over Aggies

The Gators’ nine SEC Regular Season Championships are the most in the league.
Photo by Chris Kim

Courtesy of University Athletic Association

BY HERB BROOKS

Florida won all eight SEC series in 2021 and will enter this year’s SEC Tournament as the No. 1 seed

No. 4 Florida won its league-leading ninth Southeastern Conference Regular Season Championship as the team produced a come-from-behind, 6-5, victory over Texas A&M to complete the series sweep Sunday afternoon at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.

With one out and down 5-4 in the bottom of the 7th inning, Julia Cottrill (1-for-2) provided the walk-off heroics in the Gators’ (40-8, 19-5 SEC) fourth comeback victory over the last six games.

The Wichita, Kan. native blasted her fourth home run of the season, a two-run shot, off the top of the bullpen to score herself and Charla Echols (2-for-4). Echols belted a double to the gap in left center to put the tying run on base in the previous at-bat against reliever Kayla Poynter (9-8).

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However, the Gators’ comeback bid started in the 5th inning of play as the team was down 4-0 after the Aggies (31-20, 19-5 SEC) scored three runs in the 1st and one run in the 4th inning. Baylee Goddard drew a four-pitch walk to lead off the frame, which was followed by a one-out two-run home run by Hannah Adams (1-for-4) that closed the lead down to 4-2.

The rally continued as Echols picked up a two-out single to right field, Cottrill then drew a full-count walk, and freshman Emily Wilkie was hit by the 0-1 offering from Makinzy Herzog to load the bases for Jaimie Hoover(1-for-3). Hoover tied the game 4-4 with a two-RBI single back up the heart of the Aggies infield that scored Echols easily from third, along with Cottrill, who had to produce an elaborate slide to avoid the tag at home play to tie the game.

Katie Chronister (9-2), who entered the game in the 4th inning, only gave up one hit over her 3.1 innings pitched. The hit was a solo home run that gave Texas A&M the 5-4 lead in top of the 6th inning, which also broke up a 10.2 inning scoreless and hitless streak for Chronister. However, the Gainesville, Fla. native bounced back to record five of the last six batters she faced.

The Gators will enter the upcoming SEC Tournament as the No. 1 seed due to having the tie-breaker over second-seeded Arkansas. UF holds the better record against the highest seeded common opponent, which is Alabama.

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