Junior shortstop Skylar Wallace returned to the lineup Friday night after she was out last week due to an illness.
Wallace made an immediate impact and hit the first home run of the night against the Blazers for three runs batted in to help the Gators end a two-game losing streak.
The No. 3 Florida Gators (12-3) defeated the Alabama Birmingham Blazers (10-8) 9-0 in Mary Bowers Stadium Friday night. The Gators’ win secured head coach Tim Walton’s 900th win as the head coach for Florida.
Wallace, in her first appearance since the T-Mobile Tournament, singled up the middle. The Gators had runners on the corners with no outs to start the top of the first.
UF graduate student third baseman Charla Echols flied out to right field, and sophomore outfielder Kendra Falby scored the game’s first run.
Graduate student right-handed pitcher Elizabeth Hightower started on the mound for Florida at the bottom of the first. Hightower and the Gators’ defense kept the Blazers scoreless to end the first inning.
Junior outfielder Katie Kistler singled up the middle. Senior utility player Sarah Longley later brought Kistler home with a double after the ball quickly bounced off the wall to extend the lead to 2-0.
Wallace homered to left field for three runs batted in, and both Falby and Longley scored to up Florida’s lead to 5-0 in the top of the second.
UAB was left scoreless again in the bottom of the second after sophomore infielder Lindsey Smith was caught out after Longley framed a pickoff on first base.
Blazers senior pitcher Sarah Cespedes kept the Gators from extending their lead in the top of the third. UAB started the bottom of the third with a pair of hits and all bases loaded, but Hightower and Florida’s defense left them with no runs to escape the inning unscathed.
Kistler led off the top of the fourth with a single to center field. Longley reached on a fielding error by the second baseman to load the bases. Falby walked to bring Kistler home and pushed the lead to 6-0.
Wallace singled to center field for two RBIs, and both Longley and freshman outfielder Kaila Pollard scored to bring the lead to 8-0 for official run-rule territory.
UAB replaced Cespedes with senior pitcher Bailey Tindbell to try and keep runs from being scored in the top of the fourth. Shortly after, Sophomore infielder Reagan Walsh flied out to right field and Falby scored to up the score to 9-0 to end the top of the fourth.
The Blazers left scoreless with no runs in the bottom of the fourth after a frame by Hightower and the Gators. Florida ended the top of the fifth with no runs scored. Hightower and the Gators shut out the Blazers to end the fifth inning with a 9-0 victory.
Florida is set to play Alabama Birmingham Saturday at 1 p.m in Mary Bowers Stadium.
Contact Alyssa Britton-Harr firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @abrittonharr.
Alyssa Britton-Harr is a first-year journalism major and the softball reporter for The Aligator. When not writing, you can see her cheering on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, going to country concerts, and spending time with her friends.