Softball

SB: Lugo tosses no-hitter as Gators run-rule Jacksonville in midweek action

Photo by Brian Fox / ChompTalk.com

Gainesville, FL – The newly seventh ranked Florida Gators (11-1) hosted the Jacksonville Dolphins (7-3) on Wednesday night at KSP Stadium in the final game of its long homestand. It was Jacksonville’s first road game of the season as the Dolphins hosted back-to-back weekend invitationals to kick off the season. Florida entered the contest with a 22-0 all-time record versus Jacksonville by a combined score of 161-15. The Gators also entered the matchup with seven run-rule victories and eleven shutout wins all-time over Jacksonville.

Natalie Lugo (4-1, 1.52 ERA) got the start for Florida, while Alyssa Bilodeau (4-1, 1.40 ERA) got the nod for Jacksonville.

Final: Florida 8, Jacksonville 0 (5)

Win: Natalie Lugo (5-1)

Loss: Alyssa Bilodeau (4-2)

Game Recap

Alyssa Bilodeau’s earned run average quickly plummeted from 1.40 to 3.50 in the first inning before being pulled from the circle in favor of freshman Skylar Whitty. Florida second baseman, Hannah Adams, led off the bottom of the first with a four-pitch walk. Kendyl Lindaman and Charla Echols followed that up with back-to-back homers to give the Gators an early 3-0 advantage.

In the bottom of the second, Florida loaded the bases with one out as Charla Echols once again stepped up to the plate. Jacksonville managed to work its way out of the jam, however, as Echols lined out to the shortstop, who doubled up Kendyl Lindaman at first base to record the third out.

In the third, Florida’s hit parade continued as Jordan Roberts notched her seventeenth RBI of the season on a single through the left side that drove in Baylee Goddard. A few batters later, freshman E.C. Taylor successfully stole home while Sophia Reynoso got caught in a rundown between first and second base. Reynoso safely made it back to first base and the Gators extended their lead to 5-0.

As Florida’s bats continued to heat up, Jacksonville struggled to get much going. Florida’s starting pitcher, Natalie Lugo, struck out nine batters en route to her first no-hitter of the season. Lugo allowed just two baserunners the entire game, and needed just 70 pitches to retire fifteen Jacksonville hitters.

In the fourth, Florida added on three more runs thanks to Julia Cottrill’s RBI-infield-single followed by Jordan Roberts’ RBI-double down the left field line. Jordan Matthews topped off the inning with a pinch-hit bases loaded walk to extend Florida’s lead to 8-0.

This put the Gators in position to close the game out in the top half of the fifth via the run rule. They did just that thanks to a 1-2-3 inning from Lugo.

With the win, Florida improves to 12-1 on the season, while Jacksonville drops to 7-4 overall (0-1 on the road).

Notable Stats:

  • Florida improves to 23-0 all-time versus Jacksonville by a combined score of 169-15
  • Florida records its 12th shutout & 8th run-rule victory ever against Jacksonville
  • Charla Echols hit her team-leading 5th HR of the season
  • Lindaman and Echols are the first two Gators to hit back-to-back HRs this season
  • Natalie Lugo threw her first complete-game-no-hitter of the season
  • JU RHP Alyssa Bilodeau’s ERA dropped from 1.40 to 3.50 after allowing 3 ER in 0 IP

Looking Ahead

Florida will travel across the country to Palm Springs, California, for the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic this weekend. There, the Gators will play some elite competition, including #1 UCLA, #5 Arizona, #16 Arizona State, and #25 Northwestern. Despite the leap in level of competition, Florida head coach, Tim Walton, feels confident in his team heading into the weekend. Walton said the Gators should have no problem “adjust[ing] back to where [they] need to be” and noted that the “key is for [Florida’s] pitchers to keep the opponent to under two runs.” This will certainly not be an easy task, considering the fact that UCLA, Arizona and Nebraska all average at least six runs per game.

As for Jacksonville, the Dolphins will look to bounce back this weekend in Mobile, Alabama, where they will play five games against three different teams (Stephen F. Austin, South Alabama, Memphis) in three days.

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