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UF Softball: No. 5 Gators Fall at No. 22 UCF

The Gators return to action this Friday at 6 p.m. against No. 13 LSU at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.
Photo by Tim Casey

Courtesy of University Athletic Association

BY HERB BROOKS

The Gators return to action this Friday at 6 p.m. against No. 13 LSU at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium

No. 5 Florida fell at No. 22 UCF, 8-6, in midweek action Wednesday afternoon at the UCF Knights Softball Complex.

The Knights (20-6) picked up a walk-off home run from Karissa Orneias to complete the come-from-behind effort against the Gators (21-3). UCF tied the game, 6-6, earlier in the bottom of the 7th inning via an RBI double from Jada Cody.

The Gators picked up six hits, including a multi-hit game performance from Julia Cottrill (2-for-3), compared to the Knights’ nine. Elizabeth Hightower (10-1) picked up the decision in relief, while Alea White improved to 11-1.

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UCF broke onto the scoreboard in the bottom half of the 1st inning in the high-scoring affair. The Knights capitalized on a leadoff walk drawn by Kennedy Searcy via a Georgia Blair RBI double that zoomed past the outstretched glove of Hannah Adams at second base and into the right center field gap.

The Florida offense struck for five runs in the top of the 3rd inning on three hits and a pair of walks. Adams initiated the rally with a single to left center field, which was followed by Kendyl Lindaman’s second walk of the afternoon.

With the table set, Charla Echols came through and tied the game 1-1 with a laser double over the head of right fielder Denali Schappacher that scored Adams from second. In the following at-bat, freshman Avery Goelz loaded the bases when she drew the fourth walk issued by UCF starting pitcher Giannna Mancha. Mancha was lifted after throwing 66 pitches through 2.1 innings for Alea White.

White immediately issued a four-pitch walk to Jordan Matthews to push across Lindaman and give the Gators a 2-1 lead. Julia Cottrill extended the lead out to 4-1 in the next at-bat when she laced a two-RBI double down the left field line to score Echols and Avery Goelz.

Hoover capped the scoring for the Gators in the 3rd inning when she pushed the lead out to 5-1 via a SAC fly in foul territory behind third base.

UCF climbed back into the game in the home half of the 3rd via a pair of home runs from Georgia Blair and Shannon Doherty. Blair lifted a two-run home run over the left field wall, and Doherty followed up in the next at-bat to close the UF lead down to 5-4. Katie Chronister entered the game in relief of Lugo with no outs in the frame.

The Knights loaded the bases and tied the game, 5-5, via a SAC fly out to left field from Kyra Klarkowski that scored Jada Cody to end the scoring in the frame.

The Gators regained the lead in the top half of the 6th inning. Cottrill picked up her second hit of the game with a single up the middle, and Jaimie Hoover sent a hard groundball out to shortstop to reach in the following at-bat.

Bryn Thomas loaded the bases with her first career hit as a Gator via a well-placed single over third base. The Knights were able to get an out on a fielder’s choice at home plate, but Adams came through to give Florida the lead, 6-5, when she lifted the first pitch dealt by White to left field to score Hoover.

UCF managed to mount a comeback in the 7th to steal the game away from Florida.

Notable Notes:

  • Tonight was the second meeting ever between the Gators and the Knights as Top 25 opponents.
  • The Gators still maintain a 22-6 all-time record over UCF and a 6-4 record when playing in Orlando.
  • Hannah Adams extended her career-long hit streak out to nine games after she went 1-for-2 this evening.
  • Julia Cottrill’s (2-for-3) multi-hit game was the third consecutive multi-hit game and the sixth of the season.
  • Bryn Thomas collected her first collegiate hit when she notched a single in the top of the 6th inning to load the bases for the Gators.