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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Florida earns its sixth win of the season in home opener

Korbe Otis hit her first left field homer of the season

Florida redshirt senior shortstop Skylar Wallace hits an RBI during the Gators' 9-1 win against the Jacksonville Dolphins, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2024.
Florida redshirt senior shortstop Skylar Wallace hits an RBI during the Gators' 9-1 win against the Jacksonville Dolphins, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2024.

The Florida Gators fell into trouble during the top of the fifth with only one run on the board. Jacksonville came out strong and scored its first run of the game to earn three hits.

Heading into the bottom of the fifth, junior left fielder Korbe Otis changed the momentum of the game with a two-run home run to deep left field.

Florida kept the rally going with no outs and loaded bases. The Gators earned six runs to increase their lead to 8-1.

The team channeled a bounce-back mentality critical in those kinds of moments, head coach Tim Walton said. 

“I think we responded very well to the adversity,” he said. “They scored a run, and we scored two just like that.”

Freshman right-handed pitcher Keagan Rothrock and the Gators’ offense helped lead Florida (6-1) to a win over the Jacksonville Dolphins (2-4) 9-1 for UF’s season home opener. 

Despite the Dolphins picking up a lead-off walk to start the first inning, Rothrock retired the next three batters and struck out a pair.

Redshirt senior shortstop Skylar Wallace hit an RBI double over the center fielder to score Falby for the first run of the game.

Rothrock continued her strong start in the circle with five strikeouts in the next three innings.

“It’s me and Jocelynn, and my defense is behind me,” Rothrock said. “And when I do need them, they are going to back me up no matter what.”

The Dolphins pushed across its first run on a single up center field, but the Gators’ offensive production dominated.

Junior second baseman Reagan Walsh scored Wallace on a sacrifice fly. Freshman third baseman Ariel Kowalewski and senior first baseman Avery Goelz executed back-to-back squeeze bunts to stretch out the lead. 

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Senior right-fielder Katie Kistler hit a fly deep into right field to score Kowalewski. Jacksonville’s redshirt junior right fielder Alison Carter dropped the catch out of the glove which allowed Kistler to advance to third.

Rothrock picked up her ninth strikeout of the game in the 1-2-3 inning.

Sophomore catcher Jocelyn Erickson shut the door in the bottom half of the sixth with an RBI double walk-off to earn the mercy-rule victory.

Florida is set to play a doubleheader Friday in Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium for the Bubly Invitational. The Gators will face Georgia Southern at 3 p.m. and Loyola at 5:30 p.m.

Contact Hailey Hurst at Follow her on Twitter @haileyjhurst.

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Hailey Hurst

Hailey Hurst is a second-year journalism major with a focus in sports media and a sports reporter for The Alligator. In her free time, she enjoys going to the beach and cheering for Miami sports teams.

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