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UF Softball: No. 6 Gators Power Past Eagles to Open Bubly Invitational

Cheyenne Lindsey made another highlight worthy play in center field against Georgia Southern Friday night.

Courtesy of University Athletic Association

BY HERB BROOKS

The Florida offense churned out 10 hits for the third time in the last four games

No. 6 Florida opened the Bubly Invitational with a 8-3 victory over Georgia Southern on a damp Friday evening at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.

The Gators (4-0) fell behind early 1-0 to the Eagles (0-1) in the top of the 2nd inning on an uncharacteristic defensive miscue after a well-placed bunt was put down by Shayla Smith. Bailee Wilson scored on an error after a move from first to third base on the bunt.

Despite just the one hit and one unearned run in the first, senior Natalie Lugo (1-0) settled in to retire the next nine Eagles hitters and give the Gators offense a chance to make a comeback.

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The nation’s sixth-ranked team did just that in the 4th inning. Avery Goelz (1-for-2) picked up a one-out single to center field but was retired on Kali Reis’ fielder’s choice to second. Reis moved into scoring position on a stolen base, which was followed up by an infield single from Cheyenne Lindsey (1-for-3) to turn the lineup over.

Hannah Adams (1-for-3) came through once again and gave the Gators the lead, 2-1, with a two-RBI single up the middle to score both Reis and Lindsey, who advanced into scoring position on a wild pitch during Adams’ at-bat.

Kendyl Lindaman kept the rally going with a one-out walk, and Charla Echols (3-for-4) blasted her second home run of the year to make it 5-1 over the Eagles.

In the top of the 5th inning, Lindsey made another highlight-worthy play in deep center field as she tracked down a ball at the center field wall for the first out of the inning and spoiled the Eagles’ rally attempt.

The Gators picked up more insurance in the 6th inning to take an 8-1 lead over Georgia Southern. Echols picked up her third hit of the night with a single to left field, which was then followed up by an Emily Wilkie walk.

With Echols and Wilkie on base with one out, Baylee Goddard (1-for-2) produced the second triple of the night when she lasered a shot down the right field line to clear the bases.

Jaimie Hoover (2-for-3) capped the scoring on the night when she drove in Goddard from third with a SAC fly to left field.

The Eagles didn’t go away quietly, as they were able to plate a pair of runs in the final inning to close down the lead to 8-3, but Lugo went the distance and finished for her first complete game of the season. She tallied seven strikeouts and relinquished only five hits and one out.

The Gators will continue the Bubly Inviational Saturday with games against Georgia Southern at 1 p.m. and Charlotte at 4 p.m. (ET).

Notable Notes

  • The Gators now hold an overall record of 3-0 against Georgia Southern. The Eagles have yet to play a game this season as their first four games were rained out.
    • March 2, 2001 – W, 7-6 (11) – Statesboro, Ga.
    • Feb. 25, 2018 – W, 8-0 (5) – Gainesville, Fla.
    • Feb. 19, 2021 – W, 8-3 – Gainesville, Fla.
  • Charla Echols continued to stay hot at the plate and is now 11-for-13 on the season after last the win tonight and has one double, two triples, two home runs, and nine RBI.
  • Head Coach Tim Walton picked up win 798 as a Gator tonight and is poised to hit the 800 mark this weekend. In 2020, he became the second fastest NCAA Division I head coach to reach 900 career wins.
    • Record at Florida | 798-171 (.823) | 16 Seasons
    • Career Record | 921-235 (.795) | 19 Seasons
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