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Monday, January 30, 2023

Gators open Auburn series with a hard fought defeat, 3-1

Florida softball had no answer for a stellar Auburn defensive performance

<p>The Florida Gators fell to Oklahoma State Saturday, now facing elimination against UCLA Sunday.</p>

The Florida Gators fell to Oklahoma State Saturday, now facing elimination against UCLA Sunday.

In what could have been a major victory for the Gators, following a tough series against Tennessee last weekend, the end result left a sour taste for the Florida faithful.

Entering Auburn, Alabama, with a 10-3 victory over No. 22 Central Florida Wednesday, Florida had no answer for a late offensive push from No. 17 Auburn (29-4, 7-3). The Tigers captured the first win of the three-game series against No. 7 Florida (28-6, 5-5), 3-1 at Jane B. Moore Field Friday night.

The ball game was highlighted by excellent pitching on both sides as Florida senior Elizabeth Hightower and Auburn right-hander Maddie Penta kept opponents from getting on the scoreboard. Both sides were dealing from the circle, but one team eventually found its way around the bases.

The deadlock broke in the bottom of the fourth after a two-run shot from Auburn senior Aspyn Godwin. The outfielder rotted the bases and the pressure for Florida began to rise.

Auburn continued to build the deficit after another home run, this time a solo slam by freshman Nelia Peralta, resulting in a 3-0 lead. This would be all the Auburn offense needed to keep Florida at bay, despite some late signs of life for the Gators

Florida failed to cross the plate until the sixth inning off an impressive late score by fifth-year Hannah Adams, set up by a couple of uncharacteristic wild pitches from the Tigers that put Florida hitters in play.

Florida continued its aggression in the seventh inning, with desperation base hits from freshman Kendra Falby and sophomore Avery Goelz. The trips to first base would be the pair’s only successful at-bats of the game. 

Redshirt senior Skylar Wallace also completed a single to right field, but the more-than-capable Auburn relievers easily reined the bats in before the Gators could capitalize.

Florida now looks to rebound from this loss tomorrow as they re-enter Jane B. Moore Field at 3 p.m for game two of the series. The matchup will broadcast on the SEC Network.

Contact Brenda Bogle at bbogle@alligator.org. Follow her on Twitter @bogle_brenda.




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Brenda Bogle

Brenda Bogle is a UF journalism senior with a specialization in sports and media. She joined The Alligator in the Fall of 2021.


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