Florida sweeps USF in Tampa to start softball season

Special to Gatorsports.com

TAMPA — The No. 7 Florida softball team swept Saturday's doubleheader against USF, 6-3, 15-0, behind junior Charla Echols.

Echols finished the day 6-for-6 with six RBI, a double, a triple, a home run and four runs scored.

The Gators (2-0) also received solid pitching performances from Katie Chronister (1-0) and Elizabeth Hightower (1-0). Chronister came in relief of Natalie Lugo in the fourth inning of the first game and shut down USF, while Hightower struck out seven and held the Bulls to just one hit in 4.0 innings of work.

UF pounded out 24 hits through the two games, including six doubles, a triple and two home runs. UF batters also drew eight walks and four hit-by-pitches in the effort.

With Game 1 tied at 3-3 in the seventh, Echols drilled a two-RBI double and Julia Cottrill tacked on the final run with her RBI single to close out the scoring 6-3. Jordan Matthews had a two-run double and Baylee Goddard a RBI single in the game for UF.

In Game 2, the Gators produced back-to-back doubles from Hannah Adams and Kendyl Lindaman which was then followed by a two-RBI triple from Echols to give UF an early 2-0 lead. Echols scored later in the frame via a wild pitch.

Florida went on to continue to blister the USF pitching staff and scored four runs in the second, three in the third, three in the fourth and two in the final fifth frame to bring the score to 15-0 on 14 hits.

Leading the way again was Echols who finished 3-for-3 in the game with an RBI triple and a three-run home run in the second. Adams (2-for-4), Lindaman (2-for-4) and freshman Avery Goelz (2-for-4) also had multi-hit games, while Cheyenne Lindsey belted the games only other home run with a solo shot and drew three walks.

The series finale scheduled for Sunday has been postponed to a later date due to the potential of deteriorating weather conditions.

Florida will now look toward the home opener at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium against Jacksonville at 6 p.m. Wednesday. Fans can watch the game online via the SEC Network+ and listen live on ESPN 98.1FM/850AM WRUF.