TAMPA – The No.7-ranked Florida softball team split games on the second day of the USF-Rawlings Invitational, defeating Fresno State, 6-4, before it fell 11-2 (6) to No. 17 Michigan at the USF Softball Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Charla Echols and Cheyenne Lindsey paced the Gators (2-1) at the plate in the win against the Bulldogs. Echols went 3-for-4 with a pair of RBIs, while Lindsey posted a career-high 3-for-3 outing with two RBI that included her first collegiate home run.
Rylee Trlicek received her first career start and worked 3.0 innings, before she gave way to sophomore Elizabeth Hightower (1-0) in the fourth inning. Hightower held the Bulldogs to just one additional run and a pair of hits over the next three innings to earn her first win of the season.
Junior Natalie Lugo (1) entered in the final frame with a pair of runners on first and second with no outs to earn her first save of the season. The West Covina, Calif. native forced a popup and struck out two to secure the win.
Lugo (1-1) received the start in the second game of the day against the Wolverines and recorded two quick outs before Michigan rallied to take an initial 5-0 lead with the help of a pair of defensive miscues by the Gators.
The Wolverines tacked on a pair of runs in the 3rd inning to take a 7-0 lead, but senior Kendyl Lindaman put the Gators on the scoreboard in the bottom of the frame with a monstrous solo home run over the left center field wall.
UF threatened to close down the Michigan lead even further in the bottom of the fourth inning. With the bases loaded and two outs, Lindaman nearly brought the Gators to within two runs with a 229-foot shot to deep center field that was caught at the pads of the 230-foot wall for the third out of the inning.
Echols continued her hot streak at the plate as she cranked her first home run as a Gator in the 5th inning. The Newnan, Ga. native finished the day at the plate 5-for-6 with three RBIs and a walk over the two-game span.
Florida will close play that the USF-Rawlings Invitational with games against Georgia State and USF at 12 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., respectively, Sunday.