Gators junior shortstop Skylar Wallace brought the energy for the Florida-Georgia matchup Friday evening.
Wallace led off the bottom of the first with a home run. She smashed another in the second and clinched the win for Florida with her third homer in the bottom of the sixth inning to secure the run-rule victory.
“I was getting tired of doing the same thing and wanted to try something new out,” Wallace said. “I hit the ball farther the next time and ended up getting lucky and kept controlling what I could control by hitting the ball hard.”
Wallace ended the game with three home runs and seven runs batted in. She picked up four hits in four appearances at the plate.
The No. 15 Florida Gators (30-10, 7-6 SEC) swept past the No. 12 Georgia Bulldogs (33-8,11-4 SEC) 13-4 Friday evening in Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium for Southeastern Conference Play.
Florida graduate student right-handed pitcher Elizabeth Hightower started in the circle for the Gators. Hightower walked Georgia senior third baseman Sara Mosley and junior right fielder Jayda Kearney to begin the half.
UGA senior designated hitter Jaiden Fields grounded out to Hightower, and UF junior first baseman Avery Goelz caught her out with a quick turnaround. Sophomore catcher Lyndi Rae Davis grounded out to Hightower to end the top half of the first.
Wallace hit a leadoff home run to right center to open the scoring for the Gators. Graduate student third baseman Charla Echols doubled to left field.
Sophomore second baseman Reagan Walsh grounded out to Georgia junior shortstop Ellie Armistead to end the bottom of the first.
Bulldogs senior second baseman Sydney Kuma singled to left center. Then, junior Sydney Chambley singled to center field to advance Kuma to second. Wallace ended the inning with a 5-1 out to Goelz and left two runners stranded to end the top half of the second.
Gators sophomore designated player Sam Roe singled to left field, then junior left fielder Katie Kistler reached on a fielder's choice. Roe advanced to second after a throwing error by the Bulldogs’ second baseman.
“It's amazing to get to play behind Skylar, she gets the momentum going and just fires me up,” Roe said. “I wanted to have a good solid at-bat to get the team going.”
Goelz grounded out to first base and drove in Roe to extend Florida’s lead to 2-0. Wallace homered to right field for her second home run of the evening and brought home Kistler to push the lead to 4-0 to end the second inning.
Hightower began the top half of the third with a pair of strikeouts to Mosely and Fields. Walsh ended the half after Davis grounded out to second base.
UGA sophomore right-handed pitcher Kylie Macy ended the bottom half after she struck out graduate student utility player Pal Egan which kept Florida scoreless through the third inning.
Hightower and the Gators’ defense closed out the top of the fourth with three up and three down. Roe singled to second base and advanced to second after Goelz singled up the middle.
Wallace singled up the middle, advanced to second on the throw, and brought Roe home to up the Gators’ score to 5-0. UF sophomore center fielder Kendra Falby reached on a fielding error, and Goelz scored to extend Florida’s lead to 6-0 to end the bottom of the fourth.
Senior left-handed pitcher Rylee Trlicek replaced Hightower in the top of the fifth. Georgia scored its first two runs of the game after Kearney doubled to left center and Mosley and Armistead scored.
Fields doubled to right-center and brought Kearney home. Davis doubled up the middle, and junior outfielder Hayley Eaton scored to cut the lead to 6-4.
Macy walked Egan. She was later brought home by senior catcher Sarah Longley after she singled to left center. Junior right-handed pitcher Madison Kerpics replaced Macy in the bottom half. UF junior catcher Emily Wilkie singled to third base and Longley advanced to third.
Kerpics walked Wallace and Goelz advanced to second. Falby singled to Kerpics to load the bases and brought home Longley to end the fifth inning.
Trlicek and the Gators held the Bulldogs scoreless through the sixth and left one runner on base. Egan singled to center field and then advanced to second after Kerpics walked Roe. Kerpics then walked Longley to load the bases.
Goelz singled up the middle and brought home Egan and Roe for a six-run lead in the bottom of the sixth. Wallace ended the game with a walk-off run-rule homer to center field for her third home run of the night, bringing home Goelz and Longley.
UF will continue its weekend series against the Georgia Bulldogs at 2 p.m. Saturday. The game will be streamed on SEC Network+.
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.