As Hannah Adams arrived at the plate in the fifth inning, Florida had built a fragile 3-0 from two walks and a single.
By the time she rounded third, UF’s lead grew to 5-0, and it maintained the advantage the rest of the game.
Adams’ fifth inning blast put the game away as the Gators triumphed over Jacksonville 5-1 Wednesday night at the Debbie and Fred Pruitt Softball Complex to improve to 25-3. Adams proved heroic in the two team’s first meeting on Feb. 17 and hit the walk-off double in the bottom of the seventh.
In that game, JU walked just one UF batter, but Wednesday night, Jacksonville junior Skylar Whitty struggled with control from the get-go. The righty walked five batters in the first inning and threw a wild pitch. The Gators scored a run, a Jaimie Hoover walk, without registering a hit before right fielder Baylee Goddard lined out and left the bases loaded.
After Whitty walked two Gators, JU coach Erica Ayers removed her with UF on top 2-0. Right-hander Alyssa Bilodeau retired the next three Gators and kept the two-run deficit.
The Dolphins put runners on first and second in the bottom of the opening frame, but senior pitcher Natalie Lugo shut the ‘Phins down. Through four innings, JU left just three runners on base.
Catcher Julia Contrill’s single in third made it 3-0 before Adams settled it in the fifth. The second baseman extended career-long her hit streak to 13 and placed herself in a tie for seventh all-time. The senior was the hero in the two squads last meeting when she belted a walk-off double in the bottom of seventh to score center fielder Cheyenne Lindsey.
Coach Tim Walton brought in right-hander Rylee Trlieck to receive the save, which she completed. She relinquished the Dolphins in order as runner interference helped hand Florida the W.
In total, JU pitchers granted UF batters 10 free passes. It surpassed Florida’s previous season-high of seven against LSU on Sunday.
The Gators remained undefeated against the Dolphins (24-0) and in Duval (9-0) with the win. UF also advanced to 17-2 in non-conference play.
No. 5 Florida returns to SEC play for a three-game stint Saturday night in Athens versus No. 20 Georgia. First pitch is scheduled for 8 p.m.
Contact Noah Ram at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him at @noah_ram1
Noah is a third year journalism-sports and media student from Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. He has been with The Alligator since Spring 2019 and has covered men’s and women’s tennis, gymnastics and volleyball. When he isn’t on his beat, Noah is usually sadden over his beloved South Florida sports teams, such as the Heat and Dolphins.