Hannah Adams' double plates winning run in Gators' 1-0 win over USF in Gainesville Regional
It has become like clockwork for the Florida softball team.
Walk-off hit, rinse, repeat.
This time courtesy of the most clutch player of them all — second baseman Hannah Adams.
In the bottom of the seventh of Friday’s NCAA Regional game against South Florida, Adams hit a deep fly ball on a 2-2 pitch to center. Baserunner Cheyenne Lindsey sprinted from first. The throw home came late, and UF emerged victorious 1-0. It's UF's fourth walk-off win in its last five victories and eighth time for the season.
“I just try to stay calm in those moments,” Adams said. “It’s great that Cheyenne keeps getting on base and giving me the opportunity to drive her in.”
USF ace Georgina Corrick, who entered with the nation’s ninth-lowest ERA (0.97), kept the Gators in check through the first six innings. UF put runners on base, but each time, Corrick (22-8) sliced and diced to get out of the jam by stranding nine runners.
Coach Tim Walton, who saw his Gators (43-9) go up against Corrick twice before this season, said he knew they’d be in for a challenge, especially after having already defeated the Bulls four times in the regular season.
“She had her change-up going today, she was able to throw her screw and her rise,” he said.
Florida countered with its own ace, Elizabeth Hightower. The right-hander recovered from her loss Saturday to Alabama in the SEC tournament title game and dominated the Bulls.
The junior no-hit USF (29-18) through the first six innings, but with one out in the seventh and runners on first and second, Walton pulled Hightower in favor of lefty Katie Chronister (10-2). Hightower said she didn’t mind the move.
The next batter, first baseman Bethaney Keen, delivered USF's first hit of the game, a single to Lindsey in center field.
The junior threw a rocket to catcher Julia Cottrill, who conveyed the perfect out tag on AnaMarie Bruni. Cottrill then fired to third baseman Charla Echols to get out Brooke Hartman, who attempted to advance from first.
The crowd erupted at a level unheard yet this season. Friday’s game was the first this season with a full capacity.
“The crowd was unbelievable today,” Walton said. “I actually think they got us a little nervous because we hadn’t heard cheers like that in a long time.”
Florida plays South Alabama (34-19) at 2 p.m. Saturday at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium in the winner's bracket. USA beat Baylor 2-0 Friday.
At Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium
Florida 1, South Florida 0
South Alabama 2, Baylor 0
Florida (43-9) vs. USA (35-19), 2 p.m.
Live stream: ESPN3
South Florida (29-18) vs. Baylor (27-26), 4:30 p.m.
Elimination game, 7 p.m.
Final, 12 p.m.
If-necessary game, 2:30 p.m.
Tickets: Gators Ticket Office at 352-375-4683