UF roundup: No. 6 softball team sweeps double dip
No. 6 Florida closed out the Bubly Invitational with another pair of softball Sunday over Charlotte, 4-0, and Georgia Southern, 11-0, at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.
The Gators (8-0), a day after helping Tim Walton collect his 800th win as UF coach, picked up back-to-back complete game performances in the circle from Katie Chronister (4-0) and Elizabeth Hightower (3-0) in the wins over the 49ers (3-4) and the Eagles (1-4).
Chronister turned in a career day as she went the distance in the first game against Charlotte. The Gainesville native’s complete game was the second of her career and the 7.0 innings pitched with six strikeouts were both career highs for the left-handed pitcher.
In the game against Georgia Southern, Hightower was on the verge of her first career perfect game. The Eagles spoiled the opportunity in 7th inning with a one-out walk and double from a pair of pinch hitters.
Offensively, the Gators pounded out nine hits against the 49ers and 14 hits against the Eagles. Also, seven different Gators tallied multi-hit games in the two wins.
Hannah Adams (2-for-3), Emily Wilkie (2-of-3) and Jordan Matthews (2-for-3) ripped multiple hits against Charlotte, while Cheyenne Lindsey (3-for-3), Kendyl Lindaman (2-for-4), Julia Cottrill (2-for-4), Jaimie Hoover (2-for-3) and Adams (2-for-3) each picked up multiple hits against Georgia Southern.
Next up for the Gators is a single game against UNF. The contest was originally scheduled for Wednesday, but has now been moved to Thursday at 6 p.m. at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.
No. 11 Florida (6-1, 2-0 SEC) defeated Auburn (3-6, 0-2 SEC), 6-1, on Sunday at Alfred A. Ring Tennis Complex to improve to 2-0 in the Southeastern Conference. The Gators defeated visiting Alabama by the same score Friday.
The Gators bounced back from a dropped doubles point and won four three-set singles matches to dispatch the visiting Tigers and win their third-straight match.
Picking up singles wins were Duarte Vale at No. 1, Sam Riffice at No. 2. Andy Andrade at No. 3, Ben Shelton (No. 4 singles) and Lukas Greif (No. 5 singles) were forced to be perfect after dropping their first sets, and they were.
Florida is now scheduled to hit the road for matches at LSU on Friday and at No. 10 Texas A&M on Sunday.
No. 22 Florida (3-4, 1-1 SEC) came up short at Auburn, dropping a 4-2 decision. After UF raced out to a 2-0 lead, Auburn (7-1, 2-0) closed the match with four-consecutive singles victories to defeat the Gators for the first time in its 45 tries.
Behind a strong performance in doubles followed by an excellent effort in singles, Florida notched a 4-1 win Friday in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
The Gators resume SEC action this coming weekend when they host LSU and Texas A&M at the Ring Tennis Complex. UF faces the Tigers on Friday at 5 p.m. before wrapping up the set with Texas A&M at noon Sunday.
Florida is in the third spot on the leaderboard at the end of the first round at the Gators Invitational presented by VyStar Credit Union, as UCF and Tennessee are 1-2.
Annabell Fuller leads the field after recording a 3-under par 67. The sophomore was nearly perfect, carding only one bogey on the round and posting three birdies on the back nine, including back-to-back putts on the 15th and 16th holes to break a tie for first. She joins only two other golfers in the field to record a score below par in the first round.
Addie Baggarly and Maisie Filler both sit in a tie for 21st at the end of the round after posting 3-over par scores. Marina Escobar and Jenny Kim rounded out the Gators lineup, currently sitting in a tie for 33rd and 40th, respectively.
The Gators also have five golfers playing individually with Clara Manzalini leading the way. The Italy native posted a 2-over par 72 to sit tied for 12th heading into day two of competition.
Florida will head back onto the course at 8:30 a.m. Monday. Due to expected rain later in the afternoon, the tournament has adopted a shotgun start.
Facing its final road test of the regular season, Florida fell at Missouri, 96-80.
Scoring in double figures for the 20th time through 21 games, senior guard Kiki Smith tallied a career-high 34 points. Scoring 20 or more for the seventh time in her last nine games, Smith led the charge for the short-handed Gators who were without All-SEC talent Lavender Briggs for the third-straight game. Smith's 34 points are the third-most scored by an SEC player this season. She also added 11 boards and four assists, collecting her fifth double-double in the past eight games and ninth of her career.
Florida (10-11, 3-10 SEC) plays its final regular season contest Sunday when it welcomes No. 22 Georgia to Gainesville for Senior Day at Exactech Arena. The Gators and Bulldogs are set for a 1 p.m. tipoff on the SEC Network. Seniors Danielle Rainey and Kiki Smith and graduate students Emily Sullivan and Cydnee Kinslow will be honored during a pre-game ceremony.