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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Florida softball uses explosive sixth inning to secure Game 2 victory

Jocelyn Erickson recorded two home runs

Florida softball freshman Ava Brown throws the ball in the team's win over Indiana on Sunday, March 17, 2024.
Florida softball freshman Ava Brown throws the ball in the team's win over Indiana on Sunday, March 17, 2024.

Despite a close loss against Mississippi State in its series opener Thursday night, the Gators softball team reversed the outcome in Game 2.

Florida had a slow start offensively and trailed by two runs through the first three innings. However, the Gators recorded five runs on five hits in an explosive sixth inning.

Sophomore catcher Jocelyn Erickson smashed a two-run home run off the light pole in right-center field to put the Gators up 5-2.

The offensive surge continued as senior right fielder Katie Kistler scored junior Reagan Walsh with a double to the center field gap. Then, she stole home to extend the lead to 7-2.

With two outs and a full count, freshman right-handed pitcher Ava Brown blasted a solo home run to left field to ice the game for the Gators.

No. 10 Florida (30-5, 6-2 SEC) defeated the No.17 Mississippi State Bulldogs (21-12, 1-7 SEC) 8-5 at Nusz Park Friday.

The Bulldogs pushed across the first runs of the game in the bottom half of the first inning. A double and back-to-back walks quickly loaded the bases for Mississippi State. Then, freshman outfielder Ella Wesolowski drove two runners home with a single to center field.

The next two innings were scoreless as both teams continued to fight back-and-forth. In the top of the fourth, after back-to-back walks, Erickson sent one over the fence in right-center field to put the Gators on top 3-2.

Despite having trouble finding early success in the circle, Brown had control for Florida over the next five innings. She recorded three strikeouts and allowed two hits. In the bottom of the seventh, the Bulldogs offense threatened.

Florida led by six, but Mississippi State continued to battle in the box. They recorded two hits, back-to-back walks and one run off Brown. With the bases loaded and no outs, freshman right-handed pitcher Keagan Rothrock subbed in.

The first batter walked to add a run for the Bulldogs. However, Rothrock fought back and forced an infield fly and followed with a ground out to third base.

With two outs and two runners on base, Kistler shut down Mississippi State’s rally with a diving right-field grab to seal the game.

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Next, Florida will play in the final game of a three-game series at 1 p.m. Saturday.

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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