Florida junior shortstop Skylar Wallace blasted a ball to deep right-center field for a solo home run to start the third inning.
The blast fueled UF’s offensive fire and led the Gators to a mercy-rule victory against Bucknell.
The No. 8 Florida Gators (20-4) defeated the Bucknell Bison (7-14) 8-0 Wednesday evening at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. Florida gave up just one hit to the Bison and earned eleven of its own.
Florida senior starting pitcher Rylee Trlicek opened the day with three spotless innings. She posted strikeouts against the Bison’s first two hitters and forced the third into a groundout to make way for the Gators’ offense to take charge.
Wallace earned the Gators’ first hit with a double to center field. Freshman third baseman Charla Echols was the next batter and brought Wallace home on a hard-hit single up the middle.
Echols made her way around the bases later that inning after a wild pitch advanced her to second base. She reached third on a single by freshman utility player Olivia Gigante. The single set Florida sophomore second baseman Reagan Walsh up with a chance to drive in a run.
Walsh chipped a grounder that corkscrewed to first base and spun off the first baseman’s glove. Her single scored Echols, and the Gators left the inning up two to nothing.
Florida’s next offensive inning seemed to be off to a hot start. UF had a runner on first with just one out, and sophomore left fielder Kendra Falby lined a ball to the left-side hole. Bison freshman shortstop Chase Knapp made a diving grab and fired the ball to first for a double play to end the inning.
Trlicek continued her stellar pitching with a third consecutive 1-2-3 inning. The senior struck out the first batter and forced the next two into groundouts.
Florida’s players jogged off the field with an opportunity to extend the lead even further.
Wallace drove a deep shot to right field that cleared the fences for a solo home run. Trlicek followed with a single up the middle and scored with two outs on a single by junior first baseman Avery Goelz. The inning ended on a popout by junior catcher Emily Wilkie.
Florida head coach Tim Walton pulled Trlicek and put freshman reliever Samantha Bender in the circle to start the fourth.
Bender continued right where Trlicek left off and earned two quick outs. The freshman allowed a runner, but the Bison was immediately thrown out by senior subbed-in catcher Sarah Longley.
The Gators tacked on two more runs with two extra-base hits in the fourth inning and shut Bucknell out in the fifth and sixth innings.
Wallace reached first for the third time Wednesday with a leadoff walk in the sixth inning. Echols added on a double to bring Wallace home and set UF sophomore catcher Sam Roe up for the walk-off.
Roe slapped a double down the left-field line and put the Gators up by eight for the mercy rule victory, Florida’s fifteenth of the season.
The Gators’ next matchup is against the Missouri Tigers at Katie Seashole Pressly stadium at 6 p.m. Friday. The game will be streamed on SEC Network+.
Luke Adragna is a third-year journalism student and the Florida Gators football reporter at The Alligator. He is a cat ethusiast and completes the NYT Daily Mini in less than a minute each day.