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Friday, March 01, 2024

Gators softball crushes Canisius Golden Griffins, keep national championship dreams alive

Two triples catapulted Florida’s offense

Senior Elizabeth Hightower, catcher Sam Roe and the No. 7 Florida Gators stole the series from the No. 17 Auburn Tigers Sunday
Senior Elizabeth Hightower, catcher Sam Roe and the No. 7 Florida Gators stole the series from the No. 17 Auburn Tigers Sunday

The crack of the bat followed by the crowd's cheers signaled one thing. 

As the yellow ball soared over left field, freshman catcher Sam Roe and company rounded the bases, securing a three-run home run for the hosting Gators. The orange and blue were on top. 

For the 17th consecutive season, Florida has hosted an NCAA Regional. In 2022, it emerged victorious.

The fourteenth-seeded Florida Gators softball team (44-16, 13-11) demolished the Canisius Golden Griffins (32-17,16-4) 10-1 Friday at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.  

The matchup marked the Griffs’ 13th appearance in the NCAA Tournament, their first since the 2009 season. The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Champions rode a 12-game winning streak into Gainesville before UF snapped it in the opponent's third meeting. 

The Gators fired on all cylinders early, asserting dominance on their home turf. Redshirt junior shortstop Skylar Wallace sent the outfielders scrambling with a long ball, opening up the scoring with a home run. The Woodstock, Georgia, native ended the night 3-for-3, tying her career-high for hits in a game for the third time this season and the fifth time overall in her career. 

In the circle, freshman pitcher Lexie Delbrey threw four strikeouts through the first two innings. The Bainbridge, Georgia, native worked three scoreless innings. 

Senior right fielder Cheyenne Lindsey wiped the bases clean, sending the ball to right-center field for her eighth triple of the season in the bottom of the third.

Canisius refused to go down without a fight, though. With “Buffalo Strong” stickers placed on its players’ helmets, in homage to their home city, the offense’s bats got to work.

Freshman Sam Weber reached home, scoring on a fielder's choice. It would be the only score recorded for the visitors, as the score sat 8-1.

A brief weather delay was a good omen for the orange and blue as a rainbow stretched across the sky over KSP. 

The triple threat of Delbrey, junior Rylee Trlicek and fifth year Natalie Lugo combined for the program's third combined one-hitter in NCAA Tournament play.

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The Griffs’ grit wasn’t enough to hold UF as it recorded two more runs with the help of senior third baseman Charla Echols and freshman designated player Reagan Walsh to send freshman center fielder Kendra Falby and Wallace home, sealing its victory. 

Florida returns to action Saturday against Georgia Tech at 3 p.m. The game will stream on the WatchESPN App. 

Contact Karina Wilson at and follow her on Twitter @kk_rinaa.

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Karina Wilson

Karina Wilson is a second-year student at the University of Florida within the College of Journalism and Communications with a specialization in sports and media. She aims to produce engaging, accurate and current content for all types of sports fans. Currently, Karina is The Alligator's lacrosse beat writer.

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