Florida junior pitcher Rylee Trlicek logged her first start of the year against the Florida A&M Rattlers.
Previously, she has served as a closer role behind Elizabeth Hightower, who have excelled in the circle this season, at the USF Tournament.
Trlicek started off with four-consecutive shutout innings, not allowing a single Florida A&M batter to reach first base. Sticking to her lower pitches and drop ball, she stuck to producing ground balls, a strategy that has worked well for her.
“They are one of the best defenses in the country, so why not let them help me out and not put it all on me,” said Trlicek.
No.4 Florida (10-0) toppled Florida A&M (1-8) 8-0 Sunday in the final game of the T-Mobile Tournament at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. The Gators wrapped up the game quickly in the fifth inning via run rule.
Following a scoreless first inning, a double pickle play presented itself when Freshman Kendra Falby seemed to be too fast behind fellow baserunner sophomore Avery Goelz. Head coach Tim Walton said he made a mistake holding Goelz at third base.
“With two outs, I don't want my runner in third to stay put. She has to do a good job of making them throw to the plate,” Walton said. “So if we do get out, at least we are trying to score as supposed to having a two-man situation at third base.”
Even with the error occurring at third, the Gators managed to salvage both baserunners and finish the second inning up 3-0.
Senior Charla Echols has had frustrating first few games of the season, but started the game strong on third base. After struggling last weekend to make contact with the ball, Echols hit her first home run of the season in the bottom of the third inning.
“It was exciting,” Echols said. “I think the best part for me was seeing how happy my teammates were for me. We come here every day, we are all working really hard and it’s exciting when people get what they have been working for.”
Nearing the final frame, Trlicek managed to maintain a steady pitching technique and kept Florida A&M at bay. After throwing 43 pitches, Trlicek slowly started to falter.
“I think she probably started running out of gas today,” Walton said.” I started to notice that once she throw the pitch for the last batter in the fourth inning.”
Once the Gators entered the top of the fifth, Trlicek started to let walks and doubles just slip by. She was eventually replaced by Senior Marissa Meslemore, who managed to maintain the shutout for the rest of the game.
The Rattlers fought to get a score on the board, attempting to steal second plate, but had no luck as the top of the fifth came a close.
Entering what would be the final inning, the Gators began their side with a pop-out and three-consecutive walks. Falby was the last Florida batter and sent her team home victorious after hitting a single and bringing Freshman Sam Roe in to score.
The Gators will be back in action Wednesday, traveling to Jacksonville to face off against the North Florida Ospreys at 6 p.m.
Contact Vanessa Sanchez at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @_vanessa_sanch.