The Gators dominated the first day of the Bubly Invitational at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. Florida had little trouble defeating both North Dakota State and Longwood, winning by a combined score of 14-0. It will face both teams again Saturday morning starting at 11:30.
Here’s what happened:
Trlicek shuts down Bison
It wasn’t flashy, but it was efficient.
Freshman Rylee Trlicek was given the ball to start the game in the circle. She only managed two strikeouts, but the Texan kept North Dakota State off the board in her 6.1 innings pitched. To do so, she only needed 79 pitches, and the offense drove in five runs in the final five innings in the 5-0 win.
The freshman allowed just four hits, and the Bison (2-4) never advanced a runner past second base.
“I definitely felt like I was more comfortable,” Trlicek said. “But the defense behind me, it’s really easy to come in and throw with them behind me knowing that they’re going to scoop anything up.”
The victory was also the 900th of coach Tim Walton’s career.
“It’s just a really cool, cool number,” Walton said. “But more than anything it’s just a reflection of how many good players we’ve had, how many good people we’ve had in this program to help us continue working hard and stay healthy and continue going about our business day in and day out, year in, year out.”
Florida’s offense got off to a slow start with no hits and just one walk through two innings against NDSU’s Lainey Lyle, who entered the game allowing five earned runs in 5.1 innings.
But the Gators (6-1) woke up in the bottom of the third, and from there, it was all over for NDSU. Four different Florida players combined for five RBIs, and UF racked up 10 hits in the game.
Third baseman Charla Echols’ two-RBI single in the top of the fifth doubled Florida’s lead to 4-0, putting the game out of reach. Florida hit 6 for 13 with runners in scoring position against the Bison.
Sophomore Elizabeth Hightower entered the game with one out in the seventh inning and secured the shutout despite giving up a double.
Echols blasts Gators ahead of Lancers
If the first game was a slow burn, the second half of the doubleheader against Longwood was in immediate incineration.
With runners on first and second and no outs in the first inning, Echols slugged Longwood pitcher Sydney Backstrom’s 2-1 offering way over the right field fence. It may have caused an accident on Museum Drive had the trees at the edge of Seashole Pressly Stadium not knocked it down.
“I just saw a good pitch and went with it,” Echols said. “We were very prepared going in the first inning, and our approach has been very good lately.”
Echols’ three-run shot was the beginning of a five-run first inning that helped setup Florida’s 9-0 beatdown of the Lancers. Shortstop Sophia Reynoso hit an RBI single and outfielder Cheyenne Lindsey knocked in a run on a sacrifice fly to round out the first-inning fireworks.
Echols continued to showcase her strength in the bottom of the second. First baseman Kendyl Lindaman singled to center field, and Echols hit her second dinger of the game and fourth of the season to make it 7-0.
“Obviously, you really like the job Hannah Sipos did last year (at third), but there’s really no comparison offensively,” Walton said. “Charla, she’s a threat any time she comes to the plate, a really good hitter, so I think it is nice to have a player that can play defense and can also hit the ball well like her.”
Junior Natalie Lugo received the start in the circle for Florida. She didn’t allow a run or a hit and struck out five in three innings pitched. Walton gave the ball to sophomore Danni Farley with the game out of hand.
UF added two more runs in the bottom of the fourth with back-to-back RBI doubles from outfielder Jamie Hoover and shortstop Reynoso.
“We had a lot of people getting on in a lot of different ways,” Walton said. “I thought the middle of the lineup was pretty scary today.”
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