Wilkie, Hoover lift No. 3 Gators to series-opening win over No. 15 Tigers

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COLOMBIA, Mo. — Emily Wilkie hit a two-run single and Jaimie Hoover followed with a three-run home run to help No. 3 Florida rally for a 5-2 SEC softball series win Friday over No. 15 Missouri.

 It’s the seventh comeback win of the season for the Gators (36-7, 15-4 SEC).

The Tigers (34-12, 12-7) were leading 2-0 with two outs in the sixth inning. Wilkie tied the game, 2-2, with a two-RBI single and Hoover gave the Gators a lead they wouldn’t relinquish with a three-run home run in the following at-bat.

The Tigers took the initial lead in the contest in the bottom of the 2nd inning of play. Casidy Chaumont led off the frame with a single through the left side of the Gators infield. Right-handed starting pitcher Elizabeth Hightower (16-4) responded to strike out Kim Wert in the following at-bat, but Cayla Kessinger put Missouri out in front 2-0 with a home run to center field.

Hightower was locked into a pitcher’s duel with Missouri’s Jordan Weber (9-4) for a majority of the contest, but the Gators were able to get to Weber during the sixth.

Hightower went to hurl a scoreless bottom of the frame to limit the SEC’s leading offense to a just a walk. However, Florida turned to Katie Chronister in the seventh inning to close out the game. The Gainesville, Fla. native earned her sixth save of the season as she retired the Tigers side in order to preserve the win.

The teams face off in game two of the series starting at 5 p.m. ET Saturday on the SEC Network.