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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

A tale of two Gators: Florida softball splits Saturday doubleheader

Florida’s offense scores eight runs in first game, none in second

Florida pitcher Rylee Trlicek pitches the ball in the Gators' 11-0 win against the Jacksonville Dolphins Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2023.
Florida pitcher Rylee Trlicek pitches the ball in the Gators' 11-0 win against the Jacksonville Dolphins Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2023.

Florida looked unstoppable in the first game of its Saturday doubleheader. Senior lefty Rylee Trlicek threw a no-hitter, and the Gators’ offense couldn’t stop scoring.

However, the second game was a different story. UF sophomore righty Lexie Delbrey continued the team’s pitching success, but the offense folded against Louisiana’s pitching.

The No. 8 Florida Gators (17-4) split their home doubleheader Saturday. Florida beat the Mercer Bears (6-17) 8-0 but lost to the No. 24 Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns (16-8) 1-0 at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.

Florida softball started its day against Mercer, which the Gators defeated 14-3 Friday night, and continued its dominance.

Trlicek started at the circle for Florida and walked the first batter she faced, but her early hiccup didn’t carry through the rest of the game. She didn’t allow a hit in the first frame, and the Bears ended the inning without a run.

The Gators’ offense was the antithesis of Mercer’s batting. Sophomore outfielder Kendra Falby led off for the home team and doubled on her first at-bat. Redshirt junior infielder Skylar Wallace then walked to become the second UF player to get on base.

Graduate student third baseman Charla Echols — who had seven runs batted in Friday — singled to left field to score Falby. 

Freshman first baseman Olivia Gigante gave the Bears their first break of the day. She popped out to second base for Florida’s first out of the game. However, Florida quickly resumed its scoring ways.

Sophomore infielder Reagan Walsh walked. Freshman infielder Kaila Pollard then reached on a fielder’s choice to score Wallace. Pollard stole second, and Echols scored on a throwing error.

Junior first baseman Avery Goelz singled and advanced Pollard to third, but senior utility player Sarah Longley popped up to third base to end the inning. The Gators led 3-0 as the Bears took their second trip to the plate.

Trlicek forced three consecutive ground outs to give Florida another go on offense. Falby bunted for a single, but no other Gator got on base in the frame.

Florida’s pitcher forced two more ground outs and struck out Mercer infielder Rebeca Laudino swinging to end the half inning.

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The Gators resumed their explosive offense after their second-inning break. Gigante singled to left center field. Walsh doubled down the infield line. Pollard struck out looking, but Goelz singled to bring Gigante home.

Longley grounded out to third base, but Florida didn’t let its two outs stop it from being aggressive.

Kistler singled to left center to score Goelz and Walsh. Falby singled to shortstop, which made her 7-7 against Mercer across Friday and Saturday. Wallace was then hit by a pitch to load the bases. Echols took the plate but popped up to second base to strand the runners.

Trlicek forced another 1-2-3 inning, as was the trend against the Bears. Gigante opened the half inning for Florida but flied out to center field. Sophomore catcher Sam Roe also flied out to send graduate student utility player Pal Egan to bat.

Egan pinch-hit for Goelz, and the decision paid off. She homered to right center for two RBIs. Junior catcher Emily Wilkie then became the third Gator of the inning to fly out to end the fourth frame.

Trlicek needed to prevent Mercer from scoring eight runs to clinch the victory. She didn’t allow a single hit in the final frame and closed out her second-career no-hitter.

As Louisiana took over for Mercer, Florida’s offense plateaued. The second game of the doubleheader became a seven-inning pitcher’s duel between Gators sophomore righty Lexie Delbrey and Ragin’ Cajuns right-handed pitcher Meghan Schorman.

Delbrey worked a quick 1-2-3 inning in the first to give the Gators the chance to get on the scoreboard first. Falby struck out swinging in Florida’s first at-bat.

However, Wallace walked to be the first player to get on base in the game. She stole second after Echols flied out and advanced to third due to a throwing error by Louisiana’s catcher.

Gigante flied out to the infield and lost the Gators’ opportunity to score in the first frame.

Delbrey induced a flyout and strikeout but gave up her first hit with two outs on the board. Ragin’ Cajuns junior infielder Jourdyn Campbell doubled to left center, but sophomore infielder Alexa Langeliers flied out to right center to end the top of the second.

Walsh was hit by a pitch on the first at-bat of the bottom of the inning, but she was the only Gator to reach first in the frame. Schorman forced two strikeouts and a flyout to send the Ragin’ Cajuns to the plate.

Louisiana freshman catcher Lauren Allred singled to open the third, but Delbrey forced three consecutive outs. Florida had no more success and stayed scoreless.

The Ragin’ Cajuns and Gators each saw two batters get on base, but neither took advantage. The teams were scoreless through four innings.

Louisiana finally got on board in the top of the fifth. Langeliers hit a home run to left center to give the Ragin’ Cajuns the first lead of the game. Delbrey forced three outs to avoid giving up another earned run.

Florida failed to answer and saw three straight outs to send the game into the sixth inning.

Delbrey achieved a quick 1-2-3 inning in the top of the sixth. Schorman walked Wallace but answered with a strikeout and two pop ups to get out of the inning without allowing a run.

Langeliers got on base again in the top of the seventh, but Delbrey didn’t allow any other batters to advance to first. Florida had the chance to steal the game if it could overcome its one-run deficit.

Roe pinch hit for Pollard but popped up to shortstop for the Gators’ first out of the inning. Goelz followed in Roe’s footsteps and also popped up to shortstop. Egan, who hit a home run in the Gators’ win against Mercer, pinch-hit for Longley.

Egan struck out swinging to give Louisiana the win. 

Florida plays Louisiana again in the first game of its doubleheader at 11:30 a.m. Sunday in Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. The Gators will face Rutgers at 2 p.m., and both games will be streamed on SEC Network+.

Contact Kyle Bumpers at kbumpers@alligator.org. Follow him on Twitter @BumpersKyle.

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Kyle Bumpers

Kyle Bumpers is a fourth-year journalism major and the sports editor of The Alligator. In his free time, he cries about Russell Wilson and writes an outrageous amount of movie reviews on Letterboxd.


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