Florida right-hander Elizabeth Hightower threw her second consecutive complete game Saturday afternoon en route to a 5-1 win over Louisville.
“One thing that is overlooked is deception and I think that’s something Hightower has going for her,” UF head coach Tim Walton said. “Other than the two mistakes [Hightower] made in the game, . . . there wasn’t a whole lot of hard [Louisville] contact.”
Hightower held the Cardinals hitless until the fourth inning when Louisville catcher Rebecca Chung nearly went yard. The cleanup hitter tripled off the top of the left-field wall before Louisville left fielder Carmyn Greenwood knocked an RBI-single to score the first run of the afternoon.
But the Cardinals’ advantage didn’t last long. Louisville pitcher Taylor Roby managed three scoreless inning until a walk and a pair of singles juiced the bases for the Gators with one out for pinch-hitter Bryn Thomas. Thomas drew a bases-loaded walk to score Cottrill and tie the game at one. The next batter, center fielder Cheyenne Lindsey, ripped a two-run double down the right-field line to give the Gators a 3-1 advantage.
“Being at the bottom of the lineup, it’s really important to get on base and turn it over,” Lindsey said.
After Louisville made its first pitching change, Florida tacked on two more runs to take a 5-1 lead heading into the final three frames. Second baseman Hannah Adams sent a fly ball deep enough to left field to let shortstop Kali Reis beat the throw home. “[Adams] is one of the best, if not the best second baseman in the country,” Walton said. With two outs and runners on the corners, Chung overthrew second base, allowing Lindsey to steal home safely.
Hitless fifth and sixth innings led to one last one-two-three inning for Hightower in the top of the seventh to secure Florida’s tenth straight victory to open the season.
Win: Hightower (4-0)
Loss: Roby (1-3)
Hightower: 7 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K (0.81 season ERA, 0.65 season WHIP)
Adams: 2-3, 1 RBI (.516/.600/.677 season slash line)
Goelz: 2-3, 1 R (.320/.370/.400 season slash line)
Hoover: 2-3, 1 R, 1 K (.400/.448/.400 season slash line)
Lindsey: 1-3, 1 R, 2 RBI (.464/.516/.750 season slash line)
The Gators will return to diamond early Sunday for a doubleheader. They’ll face Louisville in a rematch at 10 a.m. before taking on McNeese State at 1 p.m.