It was a senior versus a freshman.
Fourth-year catcher Jordan Roberts stepped up to the plate for Florida with infielders Hannah Adams and Charla Echols on first and second, respectively. UNF’s freshman pitcher, Hailey Raulerson, tried to squeeze it past her.
Roberts smashed it well past the wall at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium for the three-run homer. It was the initial thud that set off the avalanche of runs for the Gators in the bottom of the first inning.
That home run, along with runs from outfielder Jade Caraway, right fielder Jordan Matthews, catcher Julia Cotrill and shortstop Sophia Reynoso, put coach Tim Walton’s group up a commanding 7-0 by the end of the first inning in UF’s 10-2 run-rule domination over UNF (2-3) on Wednesday. This contest commenced the Gators 2020 regular season at home, improving their regular season record to 5-1.
“I thought our internal energy was good,” shortstop Sophia Reynoso said. “In the dugout and on the field I think that we could all feel each other.”
Freshman Rylee Trlicek started the day in the circle for Florida. Through three innings, she gave up two runs, both in the third. In her home, the Hallettsville, Texas, native allowed just two runs on six hits.
Next up in the circle for Florida was sophomore Elizabeth Hightower. The second-year pitcher allowed one run through two innings.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, freshman Baylee Goddard finished what Roberts started. The Jacksonville native was walked with the bases loaded, sending outfielder Cheyenne Lindsey home to push the 9-2 lead to 10-2, allowing the possibility of a run-rule in the fifth inning.
Hightower eliminated UNF’s final chances of mounting a comeback when she allowed just one run in the fifth and struck out two batters.
The victory comes before a six-game weekend where the Gators will host the Bubly Invitational. Walton feels confident about his group heading into the slew of games because of the depth it showed tonight even beyond his two main hitters.
“Heading into the weekend, playing six games in a short span, it’s good to have a lineup that can contribute to big-time RBI’s,” Walton said. “Without Kendyl (Lindaman) and without Charla (Echols), just being able to understand that the lineup is pretty deep.”
Follow Graham on Twitter @GrahamMarshUF and contact him at [email protected]