Entering the bottom of the fourth down 1-0, Florida second baseman Hannah Adams roped a two-RBI single up the middle before third baseman Charla Echols hit a three-run bomb to cap off the Gators’ epic two-out rally.
Two innings later, the Gators scored three insurance runs en route to an 8-3 victory over Georgia Southern.
Following a 1-0 walk-off win over Jacksonville in Wednesday’s home opener, No. 6 Florida picked up right where they left off last year’s Bubly Invitational.
After a throwing error led to an unearned run in the top of the second inning, Florida pitcher Natalie Lugo settled in nicely. The senior right-hander carried a two-hitter through the first six innings before an advantageous stretch of Georgia Southern at-bats in the top of the seventh granted the Eagles two garbage-time runs. Nevertheless, Lugo struck out seven batters while notching her seventh career complete game and first win of the season.
Georgia Southern right-hander Aaliyah Garcia hurled 3 2/3 scoreless innings until a Florida two-out rally put the Gators on the scoreboard. It started when Florida center fielder Cheyenne Lindsey hit an infield single before advancing to second base to put runners in scoring position. Adams kept it going with a single up the middle that drove in Lindsey and shortstop Kali Reis. After first baseman Kendyl Lindaman drew a walk to extend the rally, Echols’s three-run shot gave the Gators a commanding 5-1 lead.
A hitless and scoreless fifth inning led to the Gators adding some insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth. Florida right fielder Baylee Goddard cranked a two-RBI triple before scoring on left fielder Jamie Hoover’s sacrifice fly, giving the Gators breathing room heading into the final inning.
Win: Lugo (1-0)
Loss: Garcia (0-1)
Lugo: 7 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K
Garcia: 3.2 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 1 K
Echols: 3-4, 3 RBI, 2 R, 1 HR
Adams: 1-3, 2 RBI, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 E
Hoover: 2-3, 1 RBI
Goddard: 1-2, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 1 HBP
The Gators will wrap up the Bubly Invitational at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium this weekend with a pair of doubleheaders. On Saturday, Florida will face Georgia Southern in a rematch at 1 p.m. before taking on Charlotte at 4. They’ll face Charlotte again at noon Sunday before playing Georgia Southern for a third time at 3.