No. 3 Gators edged out by Gamecocks to open softball series

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No. 3 Florida dropped a 2-1 SEC softball game to South Carolina to open the series Friday at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.

The Gators (33-7, 12-4 SEC) were locked into a pitchers’ duel the Gamecocks (24-18, 3-13), with Elizabeth Hightower (15-4) and Leah Powell (8-2) battling it out, but South Carolina was able to scratch across a run late in the game to pick up the win.

The Gamecocks struck first in the first with a trio of bloopers to the outfield. Kenzie Maguire and Mackenzie Boesel notched back-to-back hits and a one-out single to shallow center field by Cayla Drotar scored Maguire for the first run.

Florida responded in the home half of the inning via a two-out RBI double by Kendyl Lindaman. 

The Gators were poised to break open the game in the second and third innings when they led off each frame with a hit, but a pair of double plays turned by the Gamecocks foiled the plan.

The Gamecocks were able to capitalize in the 6th inning with a leadoff double from Maguire, which prompted the entrance of reliever Katie Chronister to replace Hightower in the circle. Maguire later scored on a hit.

Florida made a seventh inning push to win the game as Julia Cottrill led off with a single. Katie Kistler entered to pinch-run and as the tying run was able to make her way to third after a successful sacrifice bunt by Emily Wilkie and groundout by Avery Goelz.

However, after a walk to Jordan Matthews put runners on the corners, Powell was able to get out of the jam with a foul out to the right side of the infield.

The programs will face off for the second game of the series Saturday at 6 p.m. on ESPNU. Florida will also recognize the senior class prior to the game.