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Monday, September 25, 2023

No. 8 Florida blows past Missouri to win first SEC series

Wallace sealed victory for Gators with a walk-off run

Florida shortstop Skylar Wallace claps during the Gators' 3-0 victory against the Central Florida Knights Wednesday, March 8, 2023.
Florida shortstop Skylar Wallace claps during the Gators' 3-0 victory against the Central Florida Knights Wednesday, March 8, 2023.

Gators junior shortstop Skylar Wallace singled up the middle in the bottom of the seventh. Her single allowed junior outfielder Katie Kistler to score and tied the game at three each. 

Wallace then stole second and advanced to third after the catcher committed a throwing error. She then scored on a wild pitch by the catcher to win the game in walk-off fashion. 

“Coach and I discussed it,” Wallace said. “I told him if the ball was anywhere away from the catcher I was going for it.”

The No. 8 Florida Gators (22-5) beat the Missouri Tigers (19-11) 4-3 Sunday afternoon in Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium to win their first series of Southeastern Conference play. 

Gators graduate student right-handed pitcher Elizabeth Hightower started in the circle for Florida. Missouri junior shortstop Jenna Laird singled to center field and advanced to second base after junior outfielder Alex Honnold grounded out to second. 

However, Wallace threw the ball to senior catcher Sarah Longley, who caught Laird out at home. Missouri junior outfielder Chantice Phillips walked with the bases loaded and brought sophomore Kara Daly home to put the Tigers on the board in the top of the first. 

Missouri senior right-handed pitcher Jordan Weber started in the circle for the Tigers and held Florida scoreless in the first. 

Hightower struck out sophomore outfielder Maddie Snider to get out of the top of the second. Graduate student utility player Pal Egan doubled to left center for the Gators, but Florida failed to drive in the run.

The Gators’ pitcher recorded her second strikeout of the game against Daly, who struck out swinging. Tigers sophomore infielder Julia Crenshaw homered to left field to extend their lead to 2-0 in the third inning. 

Weber continued to keep the Gators scoreless through the third inning. Senior left-handed pitcher Rylee Trlicek replaced Hightower in the top of the fourth and held the Tigers scoreless in her first frame of action.

Echols walked, and sophomore second baseman Reagan Walsh doubled to left center. Egan scored Echols for Florida’s first run after she grounded out to second base.

Goelz singled to second base, and Walsh scored to tie the game 2-2 in the bottom of the fourth.

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Trlicek and the Gators’ defense prevented another run in the top of the fifth inning. Wallace singled towards second base and later advanced to third on a wild pitch but failed to score a run after she was caught out on a double play. 

Missouri junior outfielder Payton Jackson grounded out to second base, and Phillips scored to up the Tigers’ lead to 3-2 in the top of the sixth. Junior right-handed pitcher Laurin Krings replaced Weber and didn’t allow a run in the bottom of the sixth. 

Trlicek left the Tigers with no runs scored in the top of the seventh. Kistler advanced to third after sophomore outfielder Kendra Falby grounded out to the catcher. Wallace singled up the middle to bring Kistler home and tie the game at three. 

Wallace stole second and then advanced to third after the catcher committed a throwing error. She later scored after the pitcher committed a throwing error to clinch the walk-off series for the Gators, 4-3. The win gave UF a win in the first series of SEC play 

Florida is set to play Stetson Wednesday at 6 p.m. in Patricia Wilson Field. The game will be streamed via ESPN+. 

Contact Alyssa Britton-Harr Follow her on Twitter @abrittonharr.

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Alyssa Britton-Harr

Alyssa Britton-Harr is a second-year journalism major and a sports reporter for The Alligator. In her free time, she enjoys cheering on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and spending time with her friends. 

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