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Sunday, April 21, 2024

Florida increases win streak to six after two Saturday wins

Olivia Miller recorded her second perfect game of the season

Gators softball redshirt senior Skylar Wallace comes through the ball in the team's loss to Oklahoma State on Monday, February 19, 2024.
Gators softball redshirt senior Skylar Wallace comes through the ball in the team's loss to Oklahoma State on Monday, February 19, 2024.

In the top of the sixth with a full count, Lafayette senior Paige Sandidge smashed a fastball to deep right-center field.

With the sun in her eyes, senior right fielder Katie Kistler traced the ball over her right shoulder. Just before she met the wall, she made an impressive grab to complete the 1-2-3 inning for Florida.

The crowd gave a standing ovation and freshman left-handed pitcher Olivia Miller jumped up and down in the circle, in relief of Kistler’s catch. Miller became the first player in program history to throw two perfect games in a single season.

“My heart was racing,” she said. “I was actually so grateful I started tearing up because I know that they always have my back.”

The Florida Gators (14-2) defeated Lafayette College (2-5) 8-0 and the Colgate Raiders (3-9) 21-0 on Day 2 of the T-Mobile Tournament.

Perfect Against Lafayette 

The Gators had a slow start offensively as Florida was retired 1-2-3 in the first inning and only had one hit through two innings.

With two outs in the bottom of the third, junior center fielder Kendra Falby hit a single. Stealing second, she advanced to the throw that got into the outfield.

Then, redshirt senior shortstop Skylar Wallace hit a single into right field and scored Falby for the first run of the game.

UF stretched its lead to 5-0 with a four-run frame in the bottom of the fifth. The inning was highlighted by a Wallace two-run single into center field and junior second baseman Reagan Walsh’s single that brought home two runs.

Then, in the sixth inning, on a full count, junior left fielder Korbe Otis ended the game with a double to right-center field to score Falby.

“The game’s not over until it’s over, so keep attacking no matter what,” Miller said.

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Explosive Third Inning Leads to Win over Colgate

Florida continued its explosive offense in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader. After a three-run first inning, Wallace recorded her fourth home run of the year with a two-run homer over the center field wall in the bottom of the second.

The Gators delivered an explosive third inning with 13 runs and 12 hits to extend the lead to 18-0.

With no outs, Kistler ripped a two-run double to right-center field and Walsh followed with a two-run home run over the right-center field wall.

Walsh blasted her second home run of the inning on a three-run home to left-center field. She became the first Gator to hit two home runs in a single inning since 2013 when Bailey Castro hit two against Ole Miss. 

“I was looking for a pitch to drive,” Walsh said. “I wanted to switch spots with Katie at second base, but it ended up going over.”

Falby and Wallace had back-to-back RBI triples. Then, sophomore first baseman Jocelyn Erickson and redshirt senior center fielder Baylee Goddard delivered back-to-back doubles to extend the lead to 15-0.

Walsh said as a team, they were seeing the ball well and everything they put into practice was executed in the game.

“Seeing our teammates be successful keeps us going,” she said.

The bottom of the fourth was highlighted by Miller and graduate transfer pitcher Mackenzie Wooten, who both recorded their first collegiate hits.

Freshman right-handed pitcher Ava Brown and the Gators defense delivered five strikeouts throughout the contest to keep the Raiders off the scoreboard.

Next, the Gators will play the University of Illinois Chicago Flames Sunday at 11:30 a.m. for the final day of the T-Mobile Tournament.

Contact Hailey Hurst at hhurst@alligator.org. 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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