With perfect timing, Jaimie Hoover swooped in and saved the second inning with a monstrous fly ball to left field.
The home run trickled off the roof of the batting cages, and the crowd roared as the two runs eased the pain of a sour umpire call two plays earlier.
South Carolina felt the full force of Gator nation.
The Florida softball team ravaged South Carolina in a lopsided 6-0 victory in Gainesville Saturday.
After their one-run upset loss against the Gamecocks Friday, Florida came back strong and further proved they deserved their No. 3 rank.
Hannah Adams struck gold against the Gamecocks only seconds into the bottom of the first.
The senior led off the batting order with a mammoth home run to right field to ignite the crowd and open up a one-run advantage. She paced the team with a .417 batting average.
The next inning, Adams advanced to second base after South Carolina first baseman Kassidy Krupit dropped a ball at first. The play scored shortstop Sarah Longley to further the lead to 3-0.
Adams wound down the game with a graceful grab of a fly ball to first base in the final inning.
After a pair of Gamecock singles in the opening inning, right fielder freshman Avery Goelz halted South Carolina’s spark after she chased down a sharp pop up.
Hoover’s second-inning shot electrified the stadium laterin the second inning and turned a contest into a blowout.
“I feel like that moment is something you can only dream of happening,” Hoover said.
Hoover also led the defense with her glove as she caught a high pop fly in the outfield two innings later.
On the pitcher's mound, Florida’s Natalie Lugo dominated the game. She tossed a pair of strikes to open the contest before South Carolina hitter Kenzi Maguire snuck out a single.
Lugo went on to strike out five batters the rest of the game.
The senior authored an astounding shoutout performance throughout the seven innings and allowed only four South Carolina hits. Her 2021 ERA fell further to an incredible 1.31.
Lugo lost one pitch into the clay in the fourth inning, but she laughed it off a play later and struck out Gamecock Katie Prebble.
Junior Charla Echols trotted around the diamond in the sixth inning after a center-field homer that further ignited the already roaring crowd. She reeled home Cheyenne Lindsey and brought the score 6-0.
The home run served as a small taste of redemption for the third baseman after she failed to reel in a hit from South Carolina’s Riley Blampied to put a runner on second base.
The moonshot played as the final run of the game as the Gators earned their 34th win of 2021.
Florida wraps up its three-game series against South Carolina Sunday at 1 p.m. at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. The game can be watched on ESPN+.
Contact Faith Buckley at email@example.com and follow her on Twitter @_faithbuckley
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.