No. 5 Florida rolls past Mississippi State to win SEC softball series

Special to Gatorsports.com

STARKVILLE, Miss. – No. 5 Florida used a seventh-inning explosion at the plate Saturday to run away with a 10-0 softball win over Mississippi State.

UF pounded out 10 total (20-2, 4-1 SEC) hits capitalized on five MSU errors en route to the win. The Gators plated nine runs on seven hits in the final frame  to secure the series over the Bulldogs (15-10, 0-5). The inning was highlighted by back-to-back home runs from Hannah Adams (1-for-4) and Kendyl Lindaman (2-for-4).

Florida opened the scoring in the first inning when Adams was hit by pitch and Lindaman reached on an error by Montana Davidson at third. With two outs, Avery Goelz (2-for-4) ripped a two-out RBI single to left field that scored Adams.

In the circle, Natalie Lugo (5-1) hurled 5.0 innings and kept the Bulldogs off balance in surrendering only three hits. Elizabeth Hightower earned her third save when she entered the game with a 1-0 lead, a runner on first, and inherited a 3-0 count to Fa Leilua, who eventually reached on a walk.

Hightower relied on her defense as she induced Carter Spexarth to hit into a 5-4 double play and fielded a groundout back to the circle to end the inning and preserve the shutout.

The scoring frenzy started immediately in the seventh when Lindaman belted a single and Charla Echols (2-for-5) reached when the ball popped out of a glove during a collision by Montana Davidson and Madisyn Kennedy behind the bag at third base.

Julia Cottrill (2-for-5) put down a bunt single to load the bases with no outs and Avery Goelz pushed the lead out to 2-0 with a RBI walk.

Jaimie Hoover (1-for-3) extended the lead out to 3-0 with a squeeze bunt that scored Echols and Bryn Thomas opened the game up when she lifted a ball to left field that scored Goelz and Cottrill. The Bulldogs forced a throw to second to try and eliminate Hoover, but it went wide which allowed Hoover and Thomas to advance to second and third.

Cheyenne Lindsey (2-for-4) scored Thomas and Hoover with a shot to right field and Adams followed up with a monster two-run home run to right field which gave the Gators a 9-0 lead. Lindaman put the exclamation point on it when she launched the 2-0 offering over the left field wall.

Florida, which goes for the series sweep starting at noon Sunday after opening the series with a 1-0 win Friday, has 10 shutouts on the season and is one of eight teams to have 10 or more shutouts.