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Sunday, February 25, 2024

Gators end season in NCAA Regional loss to Stanford

Florida was eliminated from the NCAA tournament in game six of the Palo Alto regional

Florida softball huddles up during the Gators' 8-7 win over Georgia Saturday, April 15, 2023.
Florida softball huddles up during the Gators' 8-7 win over Georgia Saturday, April 15, 2023.

Florida softball ended its season with its loss in game six to Stanford. The Gators struggled to keep Stanford from scoring and switched between three pitchers, but it wasn't enough to keep the Cardinal out of the game. 

The No. 20 Florida Gators (38-22, 11-13 SEC) lost to the No. 6 Stanford Cardinal (43-13, 14-10 PAC 12) 11-2 in the sixth game of the National Collegiate Athletic Association Regionals in Palo Alto, California, Sunday. 

Florida senior left-handed pitcher Rylee Trlicek started in the circle. She walked Stanford freshman infielder River Mahler to start the opening frame. Graduate student outfielder Taylor Gindlesperger hit a leadoff single through the left side and advanced Mahler to second base. 

Stanford junior catcher Aly Kaneshiro grounded out to Trlicek. Graduate student infielder Emily Young lined into a double play by UF graduate student third baseman Charla Echols and caught Mahler out on the play. 

The Cardinal took a 1-0 lead when sophomore pitcher Kylie Chung singled up the middle and scored Gindlespergerin the top of the first inning. 

Chung advanced to second base and Kaneshiro reached third off a wild pitch, but graduate student first baseman Emily Schultz lined out to center field to end the half. 

UF redshirt junior shortstop Skylar Wallace hit a leadoff single for the Gators in the bottom of the first. Falby singled to second base and advanced Wallace to second. Echols singled through the right side and scored Wallace to tie up the game for Florida. 

Gators sophomore second baseman Reagan Walsh grounded out to shortstop and brought Falby home to put Florida in the lead by one-run to end the first inning. 

Trlicek forced three popups which were all caught by Wallace to end the top half of the second. UF junior outfielder Katie Kistler singled through the right side to leadoff the Gators in the bottom of the second, but she was caught out when headed to second when junior first baseman Avery Goelz reached on a fielder’s choice. 

Stanford senior pitcher Alana Vawter walked senior utility player Sarah Longley and advanced Goelz to second base. A strikeout ended the second inning without a run for the Gators.  

Gindlesperger hit a leadoff single to center field for Stanford in the top of the third. Young singled to right field and advanced Gindlesperger to second base. Chung singled through the left side and scored Gindlesperger to tie up the game at 2-2 with Florida. 

Trlicek gave up a walk to Schultz to load the bases. Stanford senior outfielder Kaitlyn Lim singled to left field and brought Young home to take the lead over the Gators. UF graduate student right-handed pitcher Elizabeth Hightower replaced Trlicek in the top half of the third. 

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Cardinal senior infielder Sydney Steele reached on a fielder's choice and Echols threw the ball to Walsh to get Lim out at second base to end the half. Walsh advanced to first base after she was hit by a pitch from Vawter. 

UF junior catcher Emily Wilkie singled through the left side and advanced Walsh to second base. A groundout from Kistler to first base ended the third inning with no runs scored. 

Hightower walked Vawter and she was pinch ran for by junior outfielder Ellee Eck. Another walk let up by Higtower to Mahler advanced Eck to second base. Gindlesperger grounded out to Wilkie via a bunt and Eck advanced to third base. 

Kaneshiro reached on a fielder’s choice and Eck was tagged out at home plate by Wilkie to end the top of the fourth. Goelz doubled to right-center, but was tagged out at third after Longley reached on a fielder’s choice. 

Vawter walked Wallace and advanced Longley to second base, but she was caught out at third by Vawter after Falby reached on a fielder’s choice to end the fourth inning.  

Hightower struck out Young to start the top of the fifth. Schultz singled to left field to leadoff Stanford. Hightower gave up a walk to Lim and advanced Schultz to second base. Another walk let up by Hightower loaded the bases. 

Schultz scored on a wild pitch to push Stanford’s lead to 4-2. Hightower walked Maher which prompted her replacement by sophomore right-handed pitcher Lexie Delbrey. Delbrey gave up a walk to Gindlesperger and scored Lim to extend Stanford’s lead to 5-2. 

Kaneshiro singled through the left side and brought home both Mahler and Eck to give Stanford a four-run inning to end the top half of the fifth inning. Wilkie hit a leadoff single through the left side for the Gators. A strikeout to Kistler from Vawter ended the fifth inning with Wilkie stranded on first. 

Delbrey had back-to-back strikeouts and forced Lim to ground out to retire the side. Vawter struck out Longley to start the bottom half and was then replaced by freshman pitcher NiJaree Canady. Canady struck out Wallace to leave the Gators scoreless in the sixth inning. 

Steele hit a solo home run to left field to push the Cardinal’s lead to 8-2 in the top of the seventh inning. Delbrey walked Mahler and advanced Eck to second base. Eck was later brought home by Kaneshiro after she hit a fly out to left field to push Stanford's lead to 9-2. 

Young homered to left-center and scored Mahler to put Stanford in run-rule territory to end the half. Stanford won the NCAA Regional title with the three strikeouts it needed against in the bottom of the seventh. 

The Gators season has now ended as they have been eliminated from the NCAA Regional and will not move on to the Super Regionals.

Contact Alyssa Britton-Harr at abritton-harr@alligator.org. 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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