Florida softball team set to open series Saturday with Mississippi State

Ainslie Lee
Gator Sports
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The fourth-ranked Florida Gators softball team is set to open conference play this weekend as it welcomes Mississippi State to Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium for a three-game series that spans Saturday to Monday.

Though the Bulldogs sit at last in the SEC with a 15-8 record, Mississippi State still visits Florida as one of the Gators’ biggest tests of the season.

Mississippi State is highlighted by fifth-year slugger Mia Davidson, who broke the SEC’s home run record. Former Gators two-way standout Lauren Haeger previously held the record at 71 home runs.

Davidson has sent 11 pitches out of the yard this season, bringing her career total to 80.

Last weekend:Takeaways from No. 4 Florida's red hot, 5-0 weekend at the Bubly Invitational

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From the circle, the Bulldogs are led by junior ace, Kenley Hawk, who boasts an ERA of 0.77, which ties for fifth in the SEC for pitchers with at least five appearances.

Meanwhile, the Gators offense has been heating up.

In last weekend’s Bubly Invitational, the Gators scattered 50 hits through the course of five games and outscored their opponents 42-3. Florida’s lineup, which has relied heavily on a speedy, small ball approach, also knocked five home runs last weekend.

With this weekend being the Gators’ first conference series, all eyes will be on Florida’s bullpen and Tim Walton's rotation.

To date, the Gators have started all six arms in their bullpen at least once. Florida’s first game against Mississippi State gets underway on Saturday at 4 p.m. (pushed back from the original start time), followed by a 4 p.m. first pitch on Sunday and a 7 p.m. finale on Monday.

Baseball schedule change: Due to inclement weather, Friday's game between No. 11 Florida and Seton Hall has been moved to Saturday. The two teams are now scheduled to play a Saturday doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. Game 2 will begin 45 minutes after the conclusion of Game 1. Game 3 will still be played on Sunday at 12 p.m.

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