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UF Softball: Offense Powers No. 6 Gators Past Owls

Echols two home run performance was the third of her career and second as a Gator.
Photo by Chris Kim

Courtesy of University Athletic Association

BY HERB BROOKS

No. 6 Florida defeated Kennesaw State, 10-2 (6 innings), Wednesday evening at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. Charla Echols (2-for-3), Cheyenne Lindsey (2-for-4), and Avery Goelz (3-for-3) all turned in multi-hit games in the decisive victory.

The Gators’ (15-1) offense pounded out 10 hits in tonight’s contest against the Owls (6-10) and was led by Echols’ career-high two-home-run, five-RBI performance. It’s the third time in her career that she has hit two home runs in a game, and it’s only the second time she has notched five RBI.

Florida leaped onto the scoreboard in the 1st inning of play for the seventh time this season, as Kendyl Lindaman drove home Hannah Adams on a single to left field to give UF a 1-0 lead. Adams drew a one-out hit-by-pitch and moved into scoring position on a groundout to second by Echols.

Kennesaw State eventually responded in the 3rd inning with a two-run home run to left center off of right-handed starter Natalie Lugo (3-0). Despite the two-run shot, only the third of the season given up by the pitching staff, Lugo only gave up three hits through 3.2 innings pitched and struck out four in the winning effort.

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Florida regained the lead, 4-2, in the home half of the 3rd inning, Echols blasted her first home run of the evening. The Newnan, Ga. native crushed the 1-2 offering from Owls right-hander Melanie Bennett (5-6) down the right field line to score Adams and Lindsey, who reached earlier with her first triple of the year.

Lindsey went on to extend the Gators’ lead out to 5-2 in the 4th inning with an RBI single up the middle to score Goelz, and Adams pushed the score out to 6-2 with her SAC fly to center field that scored Julia Cottrill.

The Gators closed out the 10-2 run-rule effort with four runs in the 6th inning. Adams led off with a single through the right side, which was immediately followed up with a two-run home run over the left center field wall by Echols.

Jordan Matthews and Baylee Goddard kept the inning going after the duo drew back-to-back hit-by-pitches with one out. Avery Goelz capitalized on the situation with an RBI double to left center that scored pinch-runner Kali Reis.

Julia Cottrill drew the third hit-by-pitch of the inning to load the bases for Jaimie Hoover’s game-ending single that scored Goddard from third.

In the circle, Katie Chronister entered in relief of Lugo with two outs in the fourth frame and contributed 2.0 innings, in which she faced the minimum six batters. With two outs in the 6th inning, Hightower relieved Chronister and induced a groundout from the only batter she faced.

Overall, six Gators were hit by the pitch tonight, with Adams (1-for-1) being hit twice, along with Matthews, Goddard, Cottrill, and Hoover (1-for-2) being hit once each.

Next up for the Gators is a top-10 matchup with No.9 Kentucky for SEC Opening Weekend, March 12-14, at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. The series is set to be streamed via the SEC Network+.

Notable Notes:

  • This was the first meeting between the Gators and the Owls.
  • The offense produced 10 hits for the sixth time this season and 10 runs for the third time.
  • Charla Echols’ two-home-run and five-RBI performance tied career-highs.
    • This was Echols’ third multi-home run game of her career and second as a Gator.
      • at Central Michigan – April 9, 2019
      • vs. Longwood – Feb. 14, 2020
    • She also tallied five RBI against Longwood in 2020.
  • Echols now has seven multi-hit games on the season and a team-leading six multi-RBI games.
    • She is also riding a three-game hit streak.
  • Cheyenne Lindsey extended her career-long hit-streak out to 10 games after going 2-for-4 at the plate, with her first triple of the season.
    • Lindsey now has five multi-hit games on the year.
    • The 10-game hit-streak is tied for 14th all-time in the Florida record books and 11th amongst Florida juniors.
  • Freshman Avery Goelz turned in a season-high three hits against the Owls.
    • It’s her fourth multi-hit game of the season.
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