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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

South Carolina evens series with Florida softball

The Gamecocks defeated the Gators 6-2

Florida softball freshman Ava Brown begins to pitch the ball in the team's loss to the LSU Tigers on Sunday, April 7, 2024.
Florida softball freshman Ava Brown begins to pitch the ball in the team's loss to the LSU Tigers on Sunday, April 7, 2024.

The sun was shining throughout Florida softball’s early Saturday matchup against South Carolina. The Gators took the series lead Friday night behind an offensive onslaught, but the Gamecocks entered Saturday with revenge on their minds.

South Carolina (26-20, 6-11) hit four home runs against the No. 10 Gators (36-10, 11-6 SEC) to even the weekend series at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. 

The Gamecocks took the initial lead in the contest 1-0 in the top of the second inning. Senior first baseman Jen Cummings smashed a home run to deep right-center field. 

Then, with two outs in the top of the third, the Gamecocks loaded the bases. But freshman right-handed pitcher Ava Brown remained composed and recorded her second strikeout of the game. She pulled off her mask and shouted with excitement, managing to escape the trouble.

Though, Brown ran into more trouble in the fourth inning. South Carolina senior outfielder Aniyah Black drove a two-run home run over the left field wall to extend the Gamecocks lead to 3-0.

Florida had a slow offensive start, recording just three hits through the first three innings. In the bottom half of the fourth, junior infielder Reagan Walsh added to her home run total as she launched a leadoff shot to left field. Her 14th home run of the season cut the lead to 3-1.

“I was hoping she was going to pitch up since she’s a hard dropball pitcher,” Walsh said. “I was really trying to defend to not get strike three- I’m happy she did pitch up.”

South Carolina responded immediately with a two-run home run over the center field wall in the top of the fifth. Defensively, Gamecocks fifth-year pitcher Alana Vawter did a strong job of keeping the Gators from crossing the plate despite allowing eight hits.

“Regardless of the score, in the dugout I want to make sure I’m still cheering and people are up,” junior Kendra Falby said. “I thought that we did well with that today.”

In the seventh inning, the Gators attempted a late rally. Falby singled and back-to-back walks loaded the bases. Sophomore catcher Jocelyn Erickson scored Falby on an infield single, but the Gamecocks turned a double play out to earn the win.

“We have to play Gator softball the way we know how to play and attack,” Walsh said.

Florida returns to action for the rubber match of the series Sunday at 11:30 a.m.

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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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