Coach Tim Walton stressed that he needed more production from the bottom of the lineup after Florida’s series loss to Tennessee leading up to Wednesday night’s game against UCF.
The No. 7 Gators (22-4) are looking to rebound after a series loss to Tennessee at home to o…
Walton inserted Caraway into the lineup for the Gators’ 8-0 win over the Volunteers, and he kept her there on Wednesday.
And it paid off for the Gators.
The junior gave Florida an important insurance run in a three-run third inning before scoring herself to put the Gators up by four.
Kelly Barnhill pitched a complete-game shutout against UCF, and the Gators’ bottom four hitters combined for five of the team’s eight hits and two RBIs in a 5-0 win over the Knights.
The Gators (23-4) opened the game with both designated player Kendyl Lindaman and right fielder Danielle Romanello getting hit by a pitch from UCF starter Alea White. Jordan Roberts drew a walk to load the bases, and second baseman Hannah Adams drove home Lindaman on an RBI single to center field.
The game stayed at 1-0 until the bottom of the third. Caraway’s slap hit to center with runners on the corners scored pinch-runner Lily Mann to double the Gators’ lead. Shortstop Sophia Reynoso drew a walk to load the bases, and outfielder Alex Voss was hit by a pitch, allowing third baseman Jordan Matthews to score.
The score was 4-0 after White fired a pitch to first baseman Amanda Lorenz past catcher Cassady Brewer all the way to the backstop, scoring Caraway from third. She walked Lorenz after the passed ball, and UCF coach Cindy Ball had seen enough, replacing White with freshman Breanna Vasquez.
Lindaman nearly hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the fifth inning that would have put the Gators up by seven runs, but center fielder Aubrey Johnson climbed the fence and came down with the ball.
The Gators got a home run that counted when right fielder Danielle Romanello unloaded on Vasquez’s 2-1 offering and sent it over the right-center-field fence for a solo home run and a 5-0 lead.
“Just have been working, like, really hard on just seeing the ball well and feeling comfortable (at the plate),” Romanello said. “And I just felt, like, really comfortable against both pitchers tonight.”
Florida’s offense struggled with runners in scoring position, hitting three for 14 on Wednesday, but it was enough to get the win against UCF (17-9).
“I look at the number of walks that we had, and the number of times we were hit by pitch,” Walton said. “A couple, couple hits here or there, and it’s 10-0.”
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