Roundup: Castillo-led Gators keep Invitational trophy at home

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[Courtesy of UAA]
Freshman Ricky Castillo paced the Florida men’s golf team in its first VyStar Gators Invitational title since 2011 on Sunday at the Mark Bostick Golf Course.
The Gators shot 7 under in the final round of the event to finish 18 strokes ahead of Vanderbilt at 12-under par. Castillo signed the second-best individual score in tournament history with a 13-under 197, winning the individual title by eight strokes.
“It was really special. Winning here on your home track in front of a bunch of fans is pretty cool," said Castillo. "I played really well all week, just the second round I got something going, made a few puts and then just didn’t stop.”
Following his second-round 63, Castillo remained near perfect through his final 18 holes, holding his spot at the top of the individual leaderboard. The freshman notched seven birdies throughout the day to put him at 6-under 64 for the round and in clear control of first place.
Junior John Axelsen also had a great final day on the Gators’ home track. The junior moved up five spots on the leaderboard to finish in third after shooting 4 under in the final round. The Denmark native signed a clean back nine to go along with five birdies on the day. Axelsen’s third-place finish marks his third top-three finish of the season.
In his last Gators Invitational in a Florida uniform senior Blake Dyer finished in the top 20, tying for 16th after shooting a collective 2 over. In the final round, Dyer had two birdies to end the day at 1 over.
Manny Girona shot 2-over 72 through his final 18 holes, rounding out the Gators’ counting scores for the day.
Softball: No.8-ranked Florida closed out the Bubly Invitational with a pair of wins over Southeastern Louisiana, 13-1 (5), and Florida A&M, 2-1 at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.
The Gators (11-1) pounded out 15 hits, the first time since Feb. 16, 2019 against San Diego, in the win over the Lions (8-3). Sophomore Charla Echols tied her career-high in hits and runs scored going 4-for-4 with three runs to pace Florida, while junior Hannah Adams (3-for-4), Jordan Roberts (2-for-3) and Sophia Reynoso (2-for-3) each tallied multi-hit games.
In the circle, freshman Rylee Trlicek hurled 5.0 shutout innings and struck out three to improve to 4-0. Danni Farley chipped in 0.2 of an inning and senior Katie Chronister closed out the final 1.1 innings.
Florida fell behind early, 1-0, in the second game of the afternoon against the Rattlers (0-10) via a solo home run off sophomore Elizabeth Hightower in the first frame. However, despite the early deficit, Hightower settled in the circle to throw 4.0 innings for the Gators and hurled six strikeouts, while allowing only one additional hit and a walk.
Adams blasted her first home run of the season to tie the game in the third inning and Roberts gave the Gators the lead, 2-1, with her RBI single to center field. In addition, Lindaman, Echols and Baylee Goddard each notched a hit in the effort.
Junior Natalie Lugo entered in relief in the fifth inning and shut the door on the Rattlers en route to her second save of the season. Lugo’s perfect 3.0 innings of work included five strikeouts on just 33 pitches.
Florida turns around for midweek contest against Jacksonville at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.
Women’s basketball: Paced by freshman sharpshooter Brlyee Bartram’s career-high 18 points, Florida downed Missouri 75-67 to win in Columbia for the first time in program history.
Bartram drained a career-best six three-pointers and helped propel UF to its second-straight Southeastern Conference win. Florida’s long-range shooting was the story as it connected for 12 three-pointers in the matchup, registering a new season high on the road.
Paired with Florida’s effective three-point shooting was the play of redshirt senior Zada Williams. The Florida native posted 15 points and 12 rebounds, notching her sixth double-double of the campaign and her third in the last four games. Standout Lavender Briggs, scoring 15 or more points for the 13th time this season, tallied 18 and six rebounds as her steady play allowed UF to lead for 37 minutes in the game and by as many as 19.
Offense came from up and down the UF lineup as eight different players scored. Florida (14-11, 5-7 SEC) won the battle of the boards 40-30 and its bench outscored MU’s, 29-14. The Tigers are now 6-19, 3-9.
This is the latest the latest in the season the Gators, who collected their fifth conference victory, have won consecutive conference games since Feb. of 2016.
The Gators close out their two-game road swing Thursday with a matchup at Alabama.

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