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Friday, April 12, 2024

Florida softball increases win streak to 11, defeats UCLA and DePaul

The Gators delivered four home runs in a Game 2 victory

Gators softball redshirt senior Skylar Wallace follows through on a swing in Florida's win over Jacksonville University on Wednesday, February 14, 2024.
Gators softball redshirt senior Skylar Wallace follows through on a swing in Florida's win over Jacksonville University on Wednesday, February 14, 2024.

The Gators softball team faced the UCLA Bruins in Game 1 of its Friday doubleheader. Leading 1-0 in the top of the seventh, the Bruins had a runner on third base with one out. Sophomore Savannah Pola stepped up to the plate with hopes of tying the game.

On a 1-2 count, Pola swung at a fastball and hit it to deep center field. Battling the sun in her eyes, center fielder junior Kendra Falby made the grab and threw a dart to home plate. 

On the throw from Falby, sophomore catcher Jocelyn Erickson made the tag to get UCLA junior Lauren Hatch runner on third out, securing the Gators’ first top-20 win of the season.

The No.13 Gators softball team (19-2) defeated UCLA (8-6) 1-0 and the DePaul Blue Demons (3-12) 12-0 on Day 2 of the Judi Garman Classic at Anderson Family Field in Fullerton, California.

Florida Squeaks by UCLA

Freshman right-handed pitcher Keagan Rothrock was in control for the Gators as she continued her superb start to the season. After pitching a no-hitter in Game 1 of Florida’s doubleheader on Thursday, she retired the side going 1-2-3 in the top first inning.

In the bottom half, on a full count, redshirt senior shortstop Skylar Wallace smashed her sixth home run of the season to put the Gators up 1-0.

Both teams fought back-and-forth over the next six innings, refusing to give up a run. The Bruins put the Gators in trouble with two runners on base in the top of the sixth. 

Though, as Rothrock has done all year, she stayed composed and recorded her fifth strikeout to keep UCLA off the scoreboard.

Wallace's solo home run in the first inning was all the Gators would need, and Falby’s outfield assist allowed Florida to earn their 10th straight win.

DePaul Shutout

After the bats were quiet in Game 1, Florida delivered an explosive offense performance in Game 2 of Friday’s doubleheader. In the top of the first, Erickson blasted a three-run home run inside the left-field foul pole to put the first runs on the board.

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In the second inning with two outs, Florida executed eight hits and scored five runs to extend the lead to 10-0. Junior left fielder Korbe Otis ripped a triple down the right field line. Then, Erickson drove her home with an RBI single to left field.

Senior center fielder Baylee Goddard extended the lead with a three-run home run to deep left-center field.

Freshman right-handed pitcher Ava Brown delivered a home run of her own to left field for her second solo home run of the weekend, as she went back-to-back with Goddard.

Otis added to the Gators’ lead with the fourth home run of the game in the bottom of the third.

DePaul managed to scrape two hits in the game, but Brown delivered five strikeouts throughout the contest to keep the Blue Demons off the scoreboard.

For her eighth appearance of the season, freshman left-handed pitcher Olivia Miller subbed in the circle in the top of the fifth to close out a 12-0 victory.

Next, the Gators will face Michigan on Saturday for the final day of the Judi Garman Classic. First pitch is set at 12:30 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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