The Florida softball team hadn’t allowed three runs in a single inning through 12 games this season.
The DePaul Blue Demons, however, were the first team to do so Friday night. They scored three runs off UF pitcher Marissa Mesiemore in the top of the third inning of Florida’s first game of the UCF Knights Classic in Orlando.
The No. 4 Gators took that personally.
They scored seven runs on seven hits in the bottom of that frame to catapult Florida to an 11-3 run-rule win. The Gators tallied 15 hits during the game and scored runs in all five innings.
Florida started an offensive run in the first frame. First baseman Skylar Wallace lined a double to deep-left field to bring in fifth-year senior Hannah Adams, who was on first base after earning a walk.
Senior Cheyenne Lindsey continued the surge with a single to center field and a stolen base. Freshman catcher Sam Roe batted Lindsey in to extend the Gators’ lead to two with a single up the middle. UF had bases loaded with one out but a DePaul double play ended the threat.
In the third, the Blue Demons took a 3-2 lead after Mesiemore got the bases loaded with one out. She gave up a single, a walk and a hit-by-pitch before freshman Reagan Walsh committed an error that allowed DePaul freshman Anna Wohlers to cross home plate.
Head coach Tim Walton approached the circle to speak with Mesiemore, but the talk was ineffective. She allowed a two-run single in the next at-bat to give up Florida’s lead. Freshman Lexie Delbrey came out from the bullpen to limit the damage and got a pop-up and a groundout.
The Gators answered quickly with a monstrous seven-hit, 13-batter frame.
Wallace hit a leadoff single before senior Charla Echols earned a walk. They synchronized to steal second and third and confuse the Blue Demon infield. The game plan came to fruition, and Wallace later tied the game on a Walsh double.
Lindsey juiced the bases with a sneaky bunt to set up pinch-hitter Emily Wilkie, who batted in Echols from third with a single to left field.
Sophomore Katie Kistler, freshman Kendra Falby and Adams followed up with consecutive hits to make it 7-3. Wallace went to the plate again with the bases loaded and got hit by a pitch to bring in Kistler. Falby would add on to the lead after Walsh made a free trip to first base.
The Gators needed two runs to mercy-rule their opponent.
Adams hit a sacrifice fly to center field to bring in Wilkie from third base in the fourth. An episode later, Wallace scored the walk-off run after Walsh hit a single to left field.
Delbrey kept DePaul’s offense under control. She threw 2.2 relief innings with a walk and a strikeout to earn her fifth win of the season.
Five Gators had a multi-hit performance. Walsh finished the game with three RBIs, two hits and a run. Wallace went 2-2 with two runs and two RBIs. Kistler, Lindsey and Falby also had two hits each.
Florida returns Saturday to face the Oakland Golden Grizzlies on the second day of the UCF Knights Classic. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. from Orlando, Florida.
Jose Tovar is a fourth-year journalism student at the University of Florida specializing in sports and media. He has covered softball and soccer as a beat writer and aspires to work in the sports media industry.