No. 5 Gators earn softball doubleheader sweep over Bulls

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No. 5 Florida defeated USF, 9-1 (6) and 2-1, in a doubleheader Wednesday evening at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.

Charla Echols led the Gators (29-4) with four RBI through the two games, which included a key three-run home run in the first game against the Bulls (17-9) and an RBI double in game two that win.

In the circle, UF picked up a complete-game from Elizabeth Hightower (13-2), who allowed just one run on three hits, in game one and a solid start from Natalie Lugo (9-1) in game two. Lugo hurled 5.0 innings and allowed just three hits and an unearned run before she was relieved by Katie Chronister, who finished the game without allowing a hit for her first save of the season.

In the first game, Florida jumped ahead early in the first inning via Echols’ ninth home run of the season. Echols plated Hannah Adams and Cheyenne Lindsey, who reached via hit-by-pitch and a single, respectively.

Florida went on to score twice more to take a 5-0 lead. UF loaded the bases to set the table for an RBI walk by Jaimie Hoover. Adams pushed across one more run on a walk.

Kendyl Lindaman extended the Gators lead out to 7-0 in the fourth inning. Echols walked to put a runner on for Lindaman’s fifth home run of the year.

The Bulls finally were able to scratch across a run in the top of the sixth, which closed down the Florida lead to 7-1. 

The Gators ended the game in the sixth with two additional runs. Cheyenne Lindsey reached with a leadoff single followed by back-to-back walks from Echols and Lindaman to load the bases with no outs.

Emily Wilkie and Jordan Matthews ended the contest with back-to-back RBI walks.

In Game 2, Wilkie gave the Gators a 1-0 lead in the second inning with a solo home run. 

The Bulls bounced back in the top of the third to tie the game 1-1 on a passed ball. 

The Gators regained the lead, 2-1, in the bottom of the fifth on a pair of hits from Adams and Echols. Adams started the rally with a one-out single before scoring on Echols’ RBI double that hit off the top of the wall in right center field.

Chronister entered in relief in the sixth inning and retired the final six batters, striking out three along the way.

Next up for the Gators is a pair of games against Western Kentucky starting at 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday on the SEC Network + and an exhibition against Softball Canada Saturday at 1:30 p.m.