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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Olivia Miller shines for Gators softball in two Sunday wins

Miller became the first freshman to throw a perfect game in program history.

Florida softball lines up before its 13-4 win over the Georgia Bulldogs Friday, April 14, 2023.
Florida softball lines up before its 13-4 win over the Georgia Bulldogs Friday, April 14, 2023.

In the fifth inning of the Gators softball team’s first game of a Sunday doubleheader, freshman left-handed pitcher Oliva Miller made history.

Once she recorded the third out of the inning, her teammates swarmed her around the circle and celebrated the first perfect game thrown by a freshman in Florida program history.

Miller and the Gators’ pitching staff helped lead Florida (4-1) to a dominating win over Bethune Cookman (1-4) 16-0 and the University of South Florida (3-2) 12-3 in Tampa at the USF-Rawlings Invitational.

Bethune-Cookman Blowout

Florida cruised in the first game of its Sunday doubleheader. Freshman left-handed pitcher Olivia Miller recorded five strikeouts and the Gators produced runs throughout the contest.

Junior center fielder Kendra Falby led off for the Gators with a single and eventually scored after junior left fielder Korbe Otis hit a single up the middle. Then, redshirt senior Skylar Wallace had an RBI single, scoring Otis.

The Gators delivered an explosive fourth inning, scoring eight runs.

The inning was highlighted by hits from senior Avery Goelz, freshman third baseman Ariel Kowalewski and senior catcher Emily Wilkie in Florida’s high-scoring inning.

Sophomore catcher Jocelynn Erickson scored on Goelz's RBI single and junior infielder Reagan Walsh scored on Kowalewski’s RBI double.

By the end of the fourth inning, the Gators led 16-0, and Miller's perfect fifth inning ended the game.

Gators Stay Hot Against USF

Florida had a hot start offensively in Game 2. Erickson scored Otis on a sacrifice fly and Kowalewski followed with an RBI single to score Wallace.

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The Gators continued their offensive momentum in the top of the second. Falby roped a two-run triple, extending the Gators’ lead to 4-0.

Freshman right-handed pitcher Keagan Rothrock had an excellent start, recording five strikeouts in her first two innings. Additionally, Florida’s defense retired the Bulls 1-2-3 in three consecutive innings.

The Bulls scored one unearned run in the bottom of the fourth. USF Senior Alyssa Rano stole home on a throwing error by Wallace.

In the top of the fifth, Florida put runs on the scoreboard for the first time since the second inning. Brown delivered a two-run homer to deep left-center field, her first home run as a Gator. Senior right fielder Katie Kistler singled to right field and scored after stealing home.

Rothrock and the Gators retired the side 1-2-3 via a pair of ground outs and a line drive in the bottom of the fifth.

In the top of the sixth, Goddard hit a two-run homer to left field to extend the lead to 9-1.

Wallace earned her second home run of the year, crushing a ball to deep left field. Freshman right fielder Cassidy McLennan ripped an RBI single to right field, increasing the Gators lead to 12-2.

Down the last stretch, the Bulls added two runs off of a home run to left field and a two-out RBI single. Though, their deficit was too much to overcome as Florida earned its fourth win of the season.

Next, the Gators will face Jacksonville University on the road on Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the Debbie & Fred Pruitt Softball Complex.

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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