Florida powers past Kennesaw State for softball win

Special to Gatorsports.com

No. 6 Florida defeated Kennesaw State 10-2 in six innings Wednesday evening at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.

Charla Echols (2-for-3), Cheyenne Lindsey (2-for-4) and Avery Goelz (3-for-3) all turned in multi-hit games in the decisive victory.

The Gators' (15-1) pounded out 10 hits in tonight's contest against the Owls (6-10) and were led by Echols' career-high two home run, five RBI performance. It's the third time in her career that she has hit two home runs in a game and it's only the second time she has notched five RBI.

Florida leaped onto the scoreboard in the first inning of play for the seventh time this season as Kendyl Lindaman drove home Hannah Adams on single to left field to give UF a 1-0 lead. Adams drew a one-out hit-by-pitch and moved into scoring position on a groundout to second by Echols.

Kennesaw State eventually responded in the third inning with a two-run home run to left center off of right-handed starter Natalie Lugo (3-0). Despite two-run shot, only the third of the season given up by the pitching staff, Lugo only gave up three hits through 3.2 innings pitched and struck out four in the winning effort.

Florida regained the lead, 4-2, in the home half of the 3rd inning, Echols blasted her first home run of the evening. The Newnan, Ga. native crushed the 1-2 offering from Owls right-hander Melanie Bennett (5-6) down the right field line to score Adams and Lindsey, who reached earlier with her first triple of the year.

Lindsey went on to extend the Gators lead out to 5-2 in the 4th inning with an RBI single up the middle to score Goelz and Adams pushed the score out to 6-2 with her SAC fly to center field that scored Julia Cottrill.

The Gators closed out the 10-2 run-rule effort with four runs in the 6th inning. Adams led off with a single through the right side, which was immediately followed up with a two-run home run over the left center field wall by Echols.

Jordan Matthews and Baylee Goddard kept the inning going after the duo drew back-to-back hit-by-pitches with one out. Avery Goelz capitalized on the situation with an RBI double to left center that scored pinch-runner Kali Reis.

Julia Cottrill drew the third hit-by-pitch of the inning to load the bases for Jaimie Hoover's game-ending single that scored Goddard from third.

In the circle, Katie Chronister came in relief of Lugo with two outs in the fourth frame and contributed 2.0 innings, in which she faced the minimum six batters. With two outs in the 6th inning, Hightower relieved Chronister and induced a groundout from the only batter she faced.

Next up for the Gators is a top-10 matchup with No.9 Kentucky for SEC Opening Weekend, Friday-Sunday, at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. The series is set to be streamed via the SEC Network+.