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Thursday, June 01, 2023

No. 8 Florida spanked by No. 12 Arkansas’ hitting power

Gators allowed Razorbacks to record 14 runs off 12 hits

Florida infielder Avery Goelz throws the ball in the Gators' 3-0 win against the Central Florida Knights Wednesday, March 8, 2023
Florida infielder Avery Goelz throws the ball in the Gators' 3-0 win against the Central Florida Knights Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Florida graduate student pitcher Samantha Bender walked into the circle in the bottom of the third inning with the Gators in an early hole against the Razorbacks.

Arkansas didn’t hold back on the Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, native and made contact with the ball in every at-bat against her in the inning. Bender didn’t survive the inning and was pulled after giving up two runs.

The No. 8 Florida Gators (24-7, 3-3 SEC) were run-ruled by the No. 12 Arkansas Razorbacks (24-9, 5-4 SEC) 14-1 Sunday at Bolge Park in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The Gators recorded only two hits and allowed the Razorbacks to tally two or more runs every inning.

Arkansas redshirt pitcher Chenise Delce started in the circle to open the day. She retired the Gators’ first three batters in the top of the first inning.

Florida graduate student pitcher Elizabeth Hightower went into the circle for her second start of the season. The right-handed pitcher went to work immediately — she struck out Razorback freshman outfielder Reagan Johnson swinging.

Hightower struggled after the strikeout. She walked Arkansas sophomore outfielder Raigan Kramer and junior utility player Hannah Gammill.

Razorback redshirt junior utility player Rylin Hedgecock followed the walks with a home run deep to left field. Arkansas led 3-0 at the end of the first inning.

Florida sophomore infielder Reagan Walsh singled to open the second frame of the game, which was the only thing that went UF’s way in the inning. Delce struck out three straight Gators’ to end the top of the second inning.

Hightower walked Razorback graduate student infielder Kristina Foreman to start the bottom of the inning. After an out, Arkansas freshman infielder Atalyia Rijo smacked the ball into the right field wall.

Rijo sprinted all the way to third for a triple, which allowed Foreman to score and further the Razorbacks’ lead over Florida, 4-0. Hightower was replaced shortly by Gators sophomore pitcher Lexie Delbrey.

Delbrey threw her first pitch of the game to Johnson. She singled with a pop fly that dropped between the creases above third base and left field. The single brought Rijo in to score another run.

The right-handed pitcher faced six batters in the bottom of the second. She allowed four hits and three runs through the inning. With only 50 minutes of play, Arkansas led 7-0 going into the third inning.

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Delce, who finished with seven strikeouts, kept dealing the poor hand to UF. The Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, native struck out Gators sophomore outfielder Kendra Falby to end the top of the inning.

Bender made an early appearance in the circle to open the bottom of the third. Her first pitch toward Razorback freshman infielder Lauren Camenzind grounded to right center field for a single.

A walk and a wild pitch later, Camenzind was at third with Johnson at-bat against Bender. Johnson grounded to Bender in the circle but bounced in and out of the right-handed pitcher's glove.

Bender was late to throw Johnson out at first base, which allowed Camenzind to walk home for an Arkansas run.

Kramer sliced the ball on her third at-bat into right field for a single. Her single hit the grass in front of Florida senior utility player Sarah Longley and brought in Foreman to score the Razorbacks’ second run of the inning.

Bender didn’t make it out of the third inning and was replaced by freshman first baseman Olivia Gigante — her seventh appearance this season in the circle. She entered the game with one out with the Gators down 9-0 in the bottom of the third inning.

Gigante got an out for UF but then allowed Hedgecock to go yard, deep to right field. The three-run home run increased Arkansas’  lead to 12-0 at the end of the third.

Florida redshirt junior Skylar Wallace gave the Gators their first run of the game with a home run to left center field to start the fourth inning. 

The Razorbacks prevented UF from any more runs. Three straight outs followed after the Wallace home run to end the top of the fourth.

Arkansas matched Florida’s run in the top of the inning with a two-run home run by Foreman with Camenzind at second base in the bottom of the fourth inning. Gigante was quickly replaced by Gators senior pitcher Rylee Trlicek.

The left-handed pitcher regrouped UF’s defense and forced three back-to-back outs to end the inning.

Florida, with one last chance to avoid a run-rule defeat, didn’t find another run to keep the game alive in the fifth inning. Delce struck out Gators freshman infielder Kaila Pollard to end the inning and the game.

UF will travel back to Gainesville to prepare for the Stetson Hatters at 6 p.m. Wednesday. The game will be streamed on SEC Network+.

Contact Brandon Hernandez at Follow him on Twitter @BranH2001.

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Brandon Hernandez

Brandon Hernandez is a student at the University of Florida studying journalism. He is a writer for The Alligator, Gator Country and for PlugTalkSports. You can find most of his work on his Twitter (BranH2001) and on his podcast, “The Courtside Podcast,” on Spotify.

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