No. 7-ranked Florida took down No. 5 Arizona, 3-2, and walked off against No. 25 Northwestern, 3-2, during the first day of play at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic Friday afternoon.
The Gators (14-1) used timely hitting and quality pitching in the pair of victories over the top-25 competition.
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Senior Natalie Lugopicked up her third save of the season to thwart Arizona’s attempt at a comeback in the 7th frame of the first game, then battled for 4.2 innings in the pitcher’s duel with Northwestern.
Freshman left-hander Rylee Trlicek(6-0) picked up both wins on the day, as she hurled 6.0 innings against a stout Arizona lineup and entered in the 5th inning during a scoreless tie against Northwestern.
Junior Hannah Adamsprovided a pair of clutch hits on the day, as she gave UF back the lead, 2-1, in the bottom of the 5th frame against Arizona and notched her second walk-off hit of the season against Northwestern with her RBI single to right field.
Overall the Gators hit three home runs on the day, which raises their total to 19 on the season. The team entered the weekend ranked 8th nationally in total home runs.
Historically, Florida has found success when being matched against ranked opponents. The Gators hold a 326-248 (.568) record against teams ranked in the USA Today/NFCA Coaches Poll and a record of 285-159 (.642) against teams ranked in the ESPN.com/ USA Softball Poll.
The winning percentage only increases during the Tim Waltonera, as Florida boasts a record of 262-119 (.688) against those ranked in the USA Today/NFCA poll and 259-121 (.682) over his 15 years at the helm of the program.
The Gators are now 2-1 on the season against ranked opponents.
Lindaman’s RBI single against Arizona and solo home run against Northwestern improved her hit streak out to 14 games, which now ranks third all-time amongst Florida seniors and sixth overall.
It’s also ranks sixth overall in all-time hit streaks behind Kelsey Stewart(22), Megan Busch (20), Michelle Moultrie (19), Aja Paculba (16), & Melissa Zick (16).
Florida improved to 6-5 all-time against Arizona and have won their last six meetings.
With the win over Northwestern, the Gators are now 5-2 all-time and have won the last three.
Natalie Lugoextended her scoreless inning streak to a career-long 23.2 innings.
She also struck out the side once in the top 1st inning against Northwestern; it’s the second time this season she has struck out the side.
The Gators picked up their third come-from-behind victory of the season and second walk-off win in the game against Northwestern.
Adams, Lindaman, and Echols each extended their reached-base-safely streaks to 15 games.
The Gators continue action Saturday at the Mary Nutter Collegiate classic with games against No. 16 Arizona State 2:30 p.m. (PT)/5:30 p.m. (ET) and No. 1 UCLA at 5:30 p.m. (PT)/8:30 p.m. (ET). The team will close out the classic against Nebraska Sunday at 8:30 a.m. (PT)/11:30 a.m. (ET).