UF roundup: No. 6 softball team sweeps doubleheader
No. 6 Florida picked up back-to-back shutout wins over Louisville, 2-0, and McNeese, 1-0, in a Sunday doubleheader at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.
The Gators (12-0) received quality pitching from Katie Chronister (5-0), Natalie Lugo and Elizabeth Hightower (5-0, 1 save) in both games as the trio only allowed a combined four hits and one walk through 15 innings pitched.
Chronister received the start in the first game against Louisville (3-6) and hurled six innings of shutout softball with a career-high eight strikeouts. Hightower entered the game in the seventh and shut the door when she retired the side in order to pick up her first save of the season.
Against McNeese, Natalie Lugo turned in her best performance of the season. The West Covina, California, native hurled 5.1 innings and limited the Cowgirls to just one hit, before Hightower entered the scoreless game in the sixth inning with one out.
Hightower picked up her second win of the week by holding McNeese to just one base runner over the final 2.2 innings, which gave the Gators time for another walk-off performance by Hannah Adams.
Adams sealed the win against the Cowgirls with her second walk-off of the season. She blistered the 1-2 offering from Jenna Edwards over the center field wall with one out in the bottom of the eighth inning.
Against Louisville, the Gators scored a pair of runs in the third inning. Jaimie Hoover reached with a leadoff walk and was moved into scoring position by Kali Reis on a sac bunt. Cheyenne Lindsey drove in Hoover in the next at-bat with an RBI single and later in the inning Charla Echols plated Lindsey on a sacrifice fly to left field.
Next up for the Gators is a matchup with New Mexico State at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium at 6 p.m. Wednesday.
Jenna Staiti scored 30 points, Maya Caldwell added 27, both career highs, and No. 17 Georgia pulled away from Florida for a 95-80 win Sunday at the O-Dome.
Combined with No. 19 Kentucky's loss to Ole Miss, Georgia secured a top-four seed and a double-bye in next week's Southeastern Conference tournament in Greenville, South Carolina. The Gators have been assigned the No. 12 seed and are set to take on No. 13 Auburn at 4 p.m. Wednesday.
There were seven ties and 12 lead changes, the last coming when Que Morrison made two free throws and Caldwell followed with a layup to give the Lady Bulldogs a 51-48 lead midway through the third quarter.
The Gators hung in there until a 9-0 run, started and ended by Caldwell and featuring Stati's second 3 of the game and fifth of the season, broke it open under the four-minute mark.
Morrison scored 14 points, Mikayla Coombs 11 and Gabby Connally 10 for Georgia (18-5, 10-5 SEC), which has won eight straight in the series. Stati also had 13 rebounds, for her eighth double-double of the season, three blocks, two assists and a steal.
Floor Toonders, Jordyn Merritt and Kiara Smith all scored 16 for the Gators (10-12, 3-11) and Nina Rickards added 14. They have lost four straight since leading scorer Lavender Briggs (19.5) was lost for the season with a foot injury.
Florida was not daunted by Georgia's defense that allows 59.2 points on 36.6% shooting, but the Gators did have 19 turnovers that were turned into 22 points.
Winning for the second-straight match over a ranked opponent, Florida (5-4, 3-1 SEC) knocked off No. 22 Texas A&M (9-4, 1-2), 4-2, at Linder Stadium at the Alfred A. Ring Tennis Complex. UF defeated No. 19 LSU 4-2 on Friday.
Senior McCartney Kessler clinched the Gators' win from court number one as she overcame an early deficit to dispatch the Aggies' ace Jayci Goldsmith, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2. After dropping her opening set and trailing 4-2 in her second, the All-SEC talent Kessler came all the way and delivered Florida's match-sealing win, its third victory in its first four SEC tilts.
Also winning singles matches for UF were Ida Jarlskog, Sydney Berlin and Layne Sleeth. Winning the doubles points were Kessler-Marlee Zein and Ida Jarlskog-Sara Dahlstrom.
No. 11 Florida (8-1, 4-0 SEC) defeated Texas A&M (7-2, 3-1), 5-2, to win its fifth-straight match of the season.
The Gators completed an important Southeastern Conference road trip with wins at LSU and at the 10th-ranked Aggies to move to 4-0 in SEC play.
UF earned the doubles point thanks to important victories from Johannes Ingildsen and Will Grant on No. 2 and Ben Shelton and Andy Andrade on No. 3.
Winning singles matches for the Gators were Andy Andrade, Sam Riffice, Blaise Bicknell and Ben Shelton.
Florida is scheduled to host No. 12 Georgia on Friday at 5 p.m., while No. 3 Tennessee will visit Sunday at noon.
After entering the day in the lead, the Gators finished fifth at the LSU Invitational in Baton Rouge, La. Illinois won the event with a +12 293-289-294—876, while UF was +25 298-281-310—889.
Florida (3-7-2) and South Florida (2-0-1) played to a scoreless tie Saturday evening at Donald R. Dizney Stadium. Florida leads the series 6-1-2.
UF next plays an exhibition match at 3 p.m. Saturday when No. 1 Florida State comes to Dizney Stadium.