No. 5 Florida punishes No. 23 Georgia in SEC softball

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ATHENS, Ga., — In the series opener Saturday night, the No. 5 Florida Gators took a 2-0 lead, but the No. 23 Georgia Bulldogs rallied for a 4-2 win.

On Sunday, Florida made sure it wasn't going to happen again, punishing Georgia from the start for a 17-1 run-rule win, the largest margin of victory ever over Georgia.

The rubber game is set for 7 p.m. Monday on the SEC Network.

Florida improved to 26-4 overall, 9-2 in the SEC, while Georgia falls to 23-6, 4-4, as the Gators pounded 12 hits and took advantage of 13 walks from the Bulldogs' beleaguered pitching staff.

The Gators sent the early message in the first inning on Charla Echols' two-run home run and a solo blast from Julia Cottrill. Then followed up with a two-run double from Cheyenne Lindsey and sacrifice fly by Echols in the second inning for a 5-0 lead.

Then the Gators put it away with an eight-run third inning that saw 12 batters come to the plate and eight walks. Lindsey hit a two-run double and Avery Goelz a three-run double to highlight the inning.

Florida added four more runs in the fifth.

Echols and Lindsey (3 for 4) each drove in five runs on the day.

Natalie Lugo (8-1) had command from the circle, limiting the Dawgs to three hits and an earned run through the five innings.