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Friday, April 12, 2024

Florida softball continues to roll with two wins out West

The Gators earned their ninth straight run-rule victory

Florida softball freshman right-handed pitcher Keagan Rothrock pitches the ball in the Gators' loss to Oklahoma State on Monday, February 19, 2024.
Florida softball freshman right-handed pitcher Keagan Rothrock pitches the ball in the Gators' loss to Oklahoma State on Monday, February 19, 2024.

The Florida softball pitching staff has been dominant all season. Led by a trio of freshmen, Keagan Rothrock, one of the freshmen, started in the circle in Game 1 of the team’s doubleheader Thursday. 

She was phenomenal. In five innings, Rothrock recorded her second no-hitter of the year and was just one walk shy of a perfect game as she helped propel the Gators to the first win of the evening.

The No.13 Gators softball team (17-2) defeated the California State Fullerton Titans (10-7) 9-0 and Long Beach State (1-14) 15-0 on the opening day of the Judi Garman Classic at Anderson Family Field in Fullerton, California.

Explosive fourth inning leads to win over Cal State Fullerton

Freshman right-handed pitcher Keagan Rothrock, who improved her ERA to 0.50, earned her second career no-hitter, recording four strikeouts and allowing just one walk.

Despite a scoreless one-hit start, Florida delivered an explosive fourth inning with nine runs and eight hits to earn a run-rule victory.

Senior shortstop Skylar Wallace and junior left fielder Korbe Otis led the Gators off with back-to-back singles. Then, junior Reagan Walsh smashed a line drive through the middle to the right-center field wall for a two-run double.

With two outs, freshman first baseman Ava Brown doubled the 2-0 lead with a two-run home run over the wall in right-center field. Her teammates met her at home plate to celebrate as she recorded her third career home run.

The Gators added to the lead with back-to-back doubles by freshman third baseman Ariel Kowalewski and freshman second baseman Mia Williams. It forced the Titans to the bullpen for a pitching change. 

Wallace then ripped a three-run home run to center field to extend the lead to 8-0.

By the end of the fourth inning, the Gators led 9-0, and Rothrock’s dominance ended the game in the fifth.

Long Beach State Shutout 

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Florida continued the offensive momentum in Game 2 of Thursday’s doubleheader. After a three-run first inning, Walsh delivered a two-run double to the right-center gap to extend the lead to 6-0 in the second.

Freshman right-handed pitcher Ava Brown stranded a pair in the first inning to keep Long Beach off of the scoreboard. Brown had three strikeouts and allowed one hit in the first inning.

The top of the third inning was highlighted by five runs, but the Gators only needed one hit. Williams, Kowalewski and senior catcher Emily Wilkie earned back-to-back walks.

With the bases loaded, junior center-fielder Kendra Falby singled down the left field line to score Williams. Otis followed with a bases-loaded walk to put the ninth run on the board.

Sophomore first baseman Jocelyn Erickson and freshman right fielder Cassidy Mclellan extended the lead to 11-0 with back-to-back sacrifice flyouts to right center field.

Freshman left-handed pitcher Olivia Miller subbed in the fourth inning, easily retiring the side 1-2-3.

The explosive offense continued for the Gators in the fifth inning with four runs and three hits. 

Senior first baseman Avery Goelz hit a double down the right field line to add one run on the board. Then, Walsh delivered another sacrifice flyout.

With two outs, Williams blasted her first collegiate home run deep over the center field wall.

Graduate transfer Mackenzie Wooten subbed in the circle for the bottom of the fifth, and the Florida defense closed the game by turning a double play to close out a 15-0 victory.

Next, the Gators will play a doubleheader Friday to continue the Judi Garman Classic. UF will face UCLA at 5:30 p.m. and DePaul at 8 p.m.

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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