Photo by Brian Fox /

Gainesville, FL – The 8th ranked Florida Gators won both of their first two games in the Bubly Invitational on Friday. Florida beat North Dakota State in the first of the double-header, 5-0. In the second game, the Gators run-ruled Longwood in 5 innings by a score of 9-0. Both of Florida’s opponents kicked off the weekend with wins earlier in the day. NDSU cruised to a 9-0 win over SE Louisiana, while Longwood dominated Florida A&M, 8-0.

Game 1

Florida 5, North Dakota State 0

Win: Rylee Trlicek (3-0)

Loss: Lainey Lyle (0-2)

Game Recap

Both starting pitchers got off to strong starts as neither offense reached scoring position until the third inning. In the bottom of the third, Cheyenne Lindsey drove in Julia Cottrill on a single through the right side of the infield.

One inning later, Charla Echols led off with a double to left-center. Three batters later, Jade Caraway hit a 2-out infield single to bring home Echols. With the single, Caraway extended her hit streak to 7 games.

In the fifth, the Gators added on two more runs thanks to Kendyl Lindaman’s lead-off double off the centerfield wall, which led to Charla Echols’ 2-RBI single through the right side. The next inning, Hannah Adams scored on Kendyl Lindaman’s double to the gap in right-center to extend Florida’s lead to 5-0.

Despite the shaky performance from starting pitcher, Lainey Lyle, the Bison’s coaching staff decided to leave her in for the entire game. Lyle finished the game with 117 pitches thrown (69 strikes).

After recording the first out of the seventh inning, Florida starting pitcher, Rylee Trlicek, was finally pulled from the circle after throwing 79 pitches. Trlicek threw a gem, allowing no runs on 4 hits and no walks in 6.1 innings pitched. The freshman southpaw is now 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA to begin her career as a Gator.

Sophomore right-hander Elizabeth Hightower entered the game in relief for Trlicek and successfully recorded the final two outs to secure the 5-0 win for the Gators. It was a milestone win for Florida head coach, Tim Walton, who now has 900 career victories.

Game 2

Florida 9, Longwood 0 (5)

Win: Natalie Lugo (3-1)

Loss: Sydney Backstrom (2-2)

Game Recap

Florida’s offense needed just one inning to match its run total from the first game one (5). After the first two batters had reached base, Charla Echols belted a 3-run home run into the palm trees beyond the right-field wall. Shortly after with the bases loaded, Sophia Reynoso hit an infield single to score another run. The next batter, Cheyenne Lindsey, hit a sacrifice fly to centerfield to bring home Jade Caraway to give the Gators an early 5-run lead.

An inning later, Echols hit another bomb over the right-field wall to nearly the identical spot as the first one. The homer scored 2 more runs and gave Florida a commanding 7-0 lead heading into the third inning.

It was a rough outing for Longwood starting pitcher, Sydney Backstrom. The junior right-hander gave up 7 earned runs on 6 hits and 1 walk in just 2 innings pitched.

Florida starting pitcher, Natalie Lugo, threw three solid innings, allowing no runs on no hits, 2 walks and 5 strikeouts. Lugo threw just 43 pitches before being pulled from the circle in favor of sophomore right-hander Danni Farley. Farley allowed back-to-back baserunners, but she was able to work her way out of the jam and maintain the shutout.

In the bottom of the fourth, Florida’s offense got back to work. Jade Caraway scored all the way from first base on Jaimie Hoover’s double down the left-field line. Sophia Reynoso followed that up with a double into the gap in right-center to score Hoover and extend the Gators’ lead to 9-0.

The lead gave Florida the leverage to allow up to a run in order to close the game out in the top half of the fifth inning via the 8-run rule. The leverage proved to be unnecessary as Danni Farley closed the game out for the Gators without allowing a run.

Notable Stats:

  • Tim Walton leads all current D1 coaches with a .795 career winning percentage
  • Kendyl Lindaman’s 4-hit day extended her hitting streak to 7 games
  • Charla Echols’ 7-RBI day matches her season-total (she now leads Florida with 14)
  • Florida’s 9-hole hitter, Cheyenne Lindsey, leads the team in batting average (.538)
  • Florida now holds a combined 16-0 record versus NDSU and Longwood

Looking Ahead

After day 1 of the Bubly Invitational, the Gators lead with a 2-0 record. North Dakota State, Longwood and Southeastern Louisiana are all tied at 1-1, while Florida A&M sits in last place at 0-2. Florida will once again face NDSU and Longwood tomorrow at 11:30 AM/2 PM before facing SE Louisiana and FAMU to warp up the weekend on Sunday.