Final: Team USA 5, Florida 3
Win: Monica Abbott (4-0)
Loss: Natalie Lugo (0-1)
Gainesville, FL – The Florida Gators (4-1) hosted the U.S. Women’s National Team (6-0) in its home opener on Tuesday night. While Florida kicked off its season in Tampa this past weekend, Team USA went undefeated across Tampa Bay in Clearwater, outscoring its opponents 37-3.
Florida welcomed back former Gator greats, Michelle Moultrie, Aubree Munro and Kelsey Stewart to Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. The three UF alumnae represent the second most from any individual college on Team USA’s roster behind only UCLA (four).
Both starting pitchers cruised through the first inning, going 1-2-3 through the opposing batting order. Senior pitcher Katie Chronister got the start in the circle for the Gators, while former Tennessee Volunteer, Monica Abbott, got the nod for Team USA.
Florida head coach, Tim Walton, wasted no time pulling Chronister after a perfect 1.1 innings pitched. Natalie Lugo entered the game in relief for Chronister, whom had only faced three batters this season prior to her start.
In the top of the 3rd, Team USA scored 4 runs during a 2-out rally. Starting middle-infielders, Ali Aguilar and Hannah Flippen, both singled up the middle to drive in two runs each. Team USA later extended its lead to five runs in the top of the fifth when Aguilar doubled off the wall in left-center to drive in her third run of the night.
Monica Abbott cruised through the first 5 innings, allowing just 1 baserunner due to an error. However, Team USA decided to pull Abbott entering the last two innings in favor of Rachel Garcia. The pitching change seemed to help the struggling Florida offense as Cheyenne Lindsey led off the inning with a bunt single. Three batters later, Kendyl Lindaman crushed a line drive 2-run home run off the scoreboard in left-center to cut Team USA’s lead to 5-2.
In the seventh inning, Keilani Ricketts entered the circle in relief. After allowing 2 baserunners, Team USA elected to pull Ricketts and put Garcia back in the circle to record the final two outs. The Gators brought in Bryn Thomas to pinch-hit, and Thomas came in clutch with an RBI-double to the gap in left-center. Two batters later, Abbott re-entered the circle to get the final out for Team USA. After walking the first batter to load the bases, Abbott managed to strike out leadoff hitter, Hannah Adams, to secure a 5-3 victory for Team USA.
- Florida struck out a season-high 14 times
- Monica Abbott improved to 4-0 in just her 3rd start this season while striking out 13
- Kendyl Lindaman hit her 2nd HR (2 RBIs) of the season
- Ali Aguilar’s 3 RBI performance gives her a team-high 10 RBIs this season
- The 3 UF alumnae hit a combined 0-9 in their return to Gainesville
The #8 Gators will look to bounce back Wednesday night at home against UNF.
This weekend, Florida hosts the Bubly Invitation and will play a busy 6-game schedule against 4 different teams: North Dakota State (twice), Longwood (twice), Southeastern Louisiana, and Florida A&M. As for Team USA, they will continue to play college teams around the nation in preparation for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
Among the notable matchups remaining on Team USA’s schedule are #1 Washington (twice), #3 UCLA, #4 Arizona, and #9 Alabama. At the end of July, the U.S. Women’s National Team will travel to Tokyo in search of its fourth gold medal.