Charla Echols muscled out a three-run homer and granted Florida an early 3-0 lead in game one.
In what became a 2-0 sweep, Florida hosted the University of South Florida Bulls in a midweek doubleheader Wednesday. The Gators walked away with a pair of wins, 9-1 and 2-1.
Pitching quickly became USF’s downfall and continued to drag it through game one. The Bulls didn’t collect a single strikeout and walked 10 total Gators between four pitchers. Four of those walks resulted in RBIs.
USF pitcher Georgina Corrick boasted All-American talent with a .98 ERA as she entered the doubleheader with a .98 ERA. In their first meeting, Corrick gave up a season-high six runs. This time, she allowed five runs, three hits and walked three batters in the first inning against the Gators. Camryn Dolby entered in relief.
Dolby took a minute to settle in. She walked two consecutive Gator runs before third baseman Cheyenne Lindsey flew out. After that, however, she held UF at five until Kendyl Lindaman opened up its lead with a two-run homer in the fourth.
Lexie Kopko and Maddie Gardner followed Dolby in the circle to finish the game.
Hopes of a shutout victory were squandered after the Bulls managed to put one on the board. A Nicole Bechtel RBI double that scored center fielder AnaMarie Bruni in the sixth inning.
Florida pitcher Elizabeth Hightower held the Bulls to three hits and one run – and that was an uncharacteristic performance. She walked three batters, matching her season highs against LSU and Florida State. It didn’t shake her, though, as she also collected five strikeouts and her thirteenth win.
In game two, USF evaded a doomed pitching circle, as freshman Vivian Ponn allowed six hits and just two runs. The Gators put up a .250 batting average against Ponn.
The first run came from freshman Emily Wilkie. She bounced a second inning home run off the left center wall to put the Gators ahead 1-0. USF’s Alexis Buchman scored on a wild pitch and tied things up in the third inning. Florida remained scoreless until the fifth when Echols belted an RBI double to right field. That score held for two innings and became the final.
“We hit a couple balls really hard and they made some nice plays,” head coach Tim Walton said. “She (Ponn) did a good job of not giving us too many free passes.”
Left-handed pitcher Katie Chronister relieved Natalie Lugo in the fifth inning. She faced the minimum through two innings and registered three strikeouts.
Florida added two games against Western Kentucky to its schedule and will face the Hilltoppers Saturday at 11 a.m.
Contact Rachel Slay at email@example.com and follow her on Twitter @racheljslay