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Friday, September 29, 2023

No. 14 Gators swept by Ole miss in second game of weekend series

Rebels picked up four runs in top of seventh

Florida shortstop Skylar Wallace swings her bat in the Gators' 8-7 win against the Georgia Bulldogs Saturday, April 15, 2023.
Florida shortstop Skylar Wallace swings her bat in the Gators' 8-7 win against the Georgia Bulldogs Saturday, April 15, 2023.

Ole Miss sophomore infielder Brooke Barnard singled down the right-field line and advanced to second after senior infielder Tate Whitley singled to shortstop.

Rebels senior first baseman Paige Smith hit a solo home run to clinch victory against Gators. She brought Whitley and Sikes home to end the game with a five-run advantage. 

The No. 14 Florida Gators (33-14, 9-11 SEC) lost to the Ole Miss Rebels (28-22, 7-13 SEC) 7-2 Saturday afternoon in Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. 

Florida graduate student right-handed pitcher Elizabeth Hightower started in the circle for the Gators. Hightower struck out senior outfielder Tate Whitley to begin the top half of the first. 

Hightower then walked Smith but ended the half with a strikeout to sophomore infielder Keila Kamoku, which left Smith stranded on first.

Ole Miss sophomore right-handed pitcher Catelyn Riley and the Rebels’ defense held the Gators scoreless through the bottom half of the first. They ended the inning with a 2-1 out on sophomore second baseman Reagan Walsh. 

Hightower and the Gators ended the top of the second with a 5-4-3 double play when senior infielder Mikayla Allee was caught out on the play.

UF graduate student utility player Pal Egan singled up the middle; she advanced to second when senior utility player Sarah Longley singled up the middle. However, Florida failed to score a run after senior utility player Kinsey Goelz grounded into a double play, Egan was caught out heading to third, and Longley was left stranded at second to end the inning. 

Hightower began the top half of the third with a pair of strikeouts to Barnard and junior utility player Aynslie Furbush. She ended the half with a 1-2-3 inning. 

Riley struck out sophomore center fielder Kendra Falby to start the bottom of the third. Gators junior shortstop Skylar Wallace doubled to left-center and advanced to second. Riley then walked graduate student third baseman Charla Echols, who was later joined by Walsh after she was hit by a pitch to load the bases.  

Junior catcher Emily Wilkie grounded out to Riley and was caught out at first to end the inning with no runs scored. 

Hightower held the Rebels scoreless through the top and ended the half inning with her fifth strikeout of the game to Kamoku. Egan singled through the right side but was caught out when heading to second after Longley reached on a fielder's choice to left field. 

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UF junior first baseman Avery Goelz doubled down the right-field line and advanced Longley to third. Falby then singled to third base and brought Longley home for the Gators’ first run of the game. Riley walked Wallace to load the bases, but she was replaced by Furbush to keep Florida from scoring another run.

Hightower hit Allee with a pitch, which advanced her to first to start the top of fifth. She then struck out sophomore catcher Lexie Hightower for her sixth strikeout of the day — the most she has had since her first appearance of the year against Boston College. Ole Miss freshman utility player Jalia Lassiter walked and later advanced to second after Furbush was hit by a pitch.  

Gators senior left-handed pitcher Rylee Trlicek replaced Hightower in the top half of the fifth  inning. Barnard tripled to right field for three RBIs; Lassiter, Allee and freshman outfielder Taylor Malvin scored to push the Rebels’ lead to 3-1. 

Wilkie hit a solo homer down the left-field line to bring the Gators within one, 3-2. Longley singled through the right side, but a strikeout to junior outfielder Katie Kistler ended the inning with no additional runs. 

Kamoku singled to first base, and freshman infielder Tenly Grisham pinch ran for her. Trlicek allowed Allee to walk, which advanced Grisham to second. However, the Rebels failed to score after Lassiter grounded out to third base and ended the top of the sixth. 

Falby singled up the middle and advanced to second after Wallace — who was caught out on the play — grounded out to first base. Echols singled to second base, but Falby was caught out at home plate to end the sixth inning. 

Barnard singled down the right-field line and advanced to second after Whitley singled to shortstop. Sikes doubled to left field to bring Barnard home. 

Smith homered to left field and brought Sikes and Whitley home to put Ole Miss ahead with a five-run lead in the top of the seventh. With the bases loaded in the bottom half, Goelz failed to bring in any runs after she grounded out to first base. 

UF will finish its series against Ole Miss at 12 p.m. Sunday. The game will be streamed on SEC Network+. 

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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