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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Florida loses to rival Georgia in series opener

The Gators lost to the Georgia Bulldogs for the first time since March 2018

The loss broke Florida’s four-game winning streak and brought down win percentage to .862. Photo from UF-FSU game March 3.
The loss broke Florida’s four-game winning streak and brought down win percentage to .862. Photo from UF-FSU game March 3.

Baylee Goddard ran the diamond home for the first time this season with a powerful hit over the left field foul line and over the fence and gave Florida a two-point advantage shortly into the second inning. Georgia quickly stole her shining moment an inning later. 

All things must come to an end — a line that rang true for the Gators Saturday night. 

No. 5 Florida savored a taste of victory early in the game with a two-point advantage to round out the second inning but shortly fell at Georgia’s cleats in their first-of-three series against the No. 13 Bulldogs.

Sophomore right fielder Baylee Goddard homered a hit to the left field foul line and brought in sophomore catcher Julia Cottrill, who landed a single upon a Georgia defense error. It marked Goddard’s first home run of the season. The right fielder had her moment on defense half an inning earlier with a clean fly-out catch to open the bottom of the second inning. 

Cottrill fetched a few pass balls shortly after, but it wasn’t enough for a Georgia lead.The Gators notched three consecutive outs in the second inning and moved onward with their heads high. 

The tables turned in the third inning and didn’t move back, however.

Georgia hitter Payden Bordeau tied the game 2-2 with an almost-identical hit to Goddard’s first inning homer. Her ball flew past the left field and out of the park, running home Georgia’s first base hitter freshman Sydney Chambley. 

It became the fourth home run allowed by junior pitcher Elizabeth Hightower this season.

Georgia hitter Savana Sikes picked up a single shortly after fifth year Kendyl Lindaman dropped the ball at first base. The first baseman dropped a second pass one batter later and gave the Bulldogs a second runner. Fifth-year outfielder Jaimie Hoover closed the difficult inning with a pop-out catch.

The Bulldogs showed the Gators no mercy for the rest of the game.

Hitter Sara Mosley gave Georgia a 3-2 lead as she hammered a home run along the left foul line — a seemingly common hit zone for the game. 

The Gators made no offensive progress in the third inning onward. They put up three Cottrill, Hoover and freshman Emily Wilkie strikeouts in the fourth and ran it back with three consecutive outs in the fifth. 

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Florida didn’t play too hot on the defense either. Hoover dropped a ball in the outer left field to start the fifth inning and brought Sikes a double. Cottrill soon landed a pass ball and brought Sikes to third, who made her way to home base on a single by Georgia hitter Jaiden Fields.

Up 4-2, Georgia kicked Florida while it was already down. The Bulldogs forced Hightower off the mound. 

Sophomore Rylee Trlicek took the pitcher's position in an attempt to redeem the game but wasn’t successful as the game score flatlined 4-2.

The result broke Florida’s four-game winning streak and brought down win percentage to .862. 

The Gators have two more tries to beat Georgia in the series, as they go on to play against the rival team on Sunday at 3 p.m. and Monday at 7 p.m. The matchups will streak on ESPN.

Contact Faith Buckley at and follow her on Twitter @_faithbuckley

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Faith Buckley

Faith is a third-year journalism student specializing in sports media. She hopes to one day work as a play-by-play announcer for the National Hockey League. 

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