Oops, Florida Gators do it again, rally past Texas A&M with another walk-off win
Write clutch atop of the list of ways to describe this Florida softball team, ranked No. 4 in the nation. Resilient is also up there.
For the sixth time this season and twice in the series against Texas A&M, Florida overcame a deficit in walk-off fashion when Julia Cottrill hit a two-run home run in the seventh inning to give the Gators a 6-5 win at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. It was also the Gators' 10th comeback win this year.
The Gators' (40-8, 19-5 SEC) now share the SEC regular-season title with Arkansas and gain the top seed in the league tournament in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The Aggies (31-20, 8-16) are the tourney's 10 seed.
Florida will play the winner of eight seed Ole Miss (34-14)-nine seed Mississippi State (32-22) in Thursday's quarterfinals at 12 p.m. ET on the SEC Network. The Magnolia State teams play Wednesday.
On Friday, the Gators beat the Aggies 5-3 when Charla Echols hit a walk-off, three-run home run.
Echols also had a hand in the Gators' fourth comeback win over the last six games when she doubled with one out to bring up Cottrill, who hit a long foul ball before sending the next Kayla Poynter offering over the fence in left.
Florida starting pitcher Natalie Lugo tossed a four-hit shutout in Saturday's 4-0 win over Texas A&M. The Aggies, however, came out determined that history wasn't going to repeat itself against the UF ace Sunday.
The Aggies scored three runs in the first inning off Lugo on four consecutive singles, a hit batsman and a wild pitch. They added a run in the fourth on Makinzy Herzog's RBI double to force Lugo from the game in place of reliever Katie Chronister (9-2).
Florida had a scoring opportunity in the fourth inning by loading the bases with one out, but Herzog, who came in after starter Grace Uribe issued two walks and hit a batter, got out of trouble.
The Gators tied the game at 4-all with a four-spot in the fifth inning. Hannah Adams hit her 10th home run of the season that also scored Baylee Goddard, who had walked. It was the Gators' first hit of the game to make it 4-2. UF then loaded the bases on Echols' single, Cottrill walked and Emily Wilkie was hit by pitch for the third time to set the stage for Jaimie Hoover, who delivered a two-run single.
Texas A&M didn't go away when freshman Rylen Wiggins hit a solo home run, her first, in the sixth inning, as the Aggies regained the lead at 5-4.
Notes: It's Florida's league-leading ninth conference regular-season championship. ... The Gators enter the SEC Tournament as the No. 1 seed due to having the tie-breaker over second-seeded Arkansas. ... UF is the only team in the SEC to win all eight of its conference series this season.