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Friday, February 03, 2023

Gators return to SEC play against Mississippi State

UF claims an all-time 39-20 record against the Bulldogs

At surface level, the Bulldogs don’t pose a significant challenge to the Gators (18-2), who rank fourth in the SEC. Photo from UF-FSU game March 3.
At surface level, the Bulldogs don’t pose a significant challenge to the Gators (18-2), who rank fourth in the SEC. Photo from UF-FSU game March 3.


Florida will travel to Starkville, Mississippi, Friday to face Mississippi State in its second conference series of the season. 

The teams’ meeting record tips in favor of UF is 39-20 all time. 

At surface level, the Bulldogs don’t pose a significant challenge to the Gators (18-2), who rank fourth in the SEC. Mississippi State (15-8) sits last with a 0-3 conference record. Their conference play started with a sweep and mercy rule defeat to the University of Mississippi.

Florida’s SEC Opening Weekend featured a top-10 duel against No. 9 Kentucky. UF clinched the series after a pair of 3-1 wins but gave up the last to finish 2-1 on the weekend. 

The Bulldog pitching staff lugs a 3.32 combined ERA into the weekend, in contrast to the Gators’ combined 1.14. Still, Bulldog pitcher Annie Willis totes a perfect 7-0 record through 41.2 innings. 

Florida head coach Tim Walton credited the team’s early success to its pitchers and defense. Elizabeth Hightower boasts a .89 ERA and a stainless 8-0 record through 55.1 innings. Natalie Lugo follows closely with a 1.58 ERA through 40 innings. 

At the plate, No. 5 Florida’s success is undeniable. Second baseman Hannah Adams leads the team with a .443 average and seventh-best batting average in the SEC. She stands at the forefront of her team’s .300 average, which includes tight numbers from Charla Echols (.407) and Cheyenne Lindsey (.386). 

Florida put up six hits in its 7-1 midweek win over North Dakota. They capitalized on the Fighting Hawks’ erratic pitching. Catcher Emily Wilkie rocked the first Gator grand slam since April 28, 2019. 

First pitch will fly at 7 p.m. and will broadcast on SEC Network. 

Contact Rachel Slay at rslay@alligator.org and follow her on Twitter @racheljslay



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