Photo by Brian Fox | ChompTalk.com

After beating USF twice in Tampa on Opening Day, No. 5 Florida swept the Bulls in a doubleheader Wednesday at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. Florida right-hander Elizabeth Hightower hurled her ninth complete game en route to a 9-1 run-rule win before third baseman Charla Echols lifted the Gators to a narrow 2-1 victory on a late go-ahead RBI double.

In the first contest, Florida jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first inning thanks to a three-run Echols bomb — her team-high ninth home run this season — and a pair of bases-loaded walks. After an explosive first inning, USF held the Gators scoreless until the bottom of the fourth when designated player Kendyl Lindaman smoked a line-drive, two-run homer.

Hightower cruised through the Bulls’ lineup until she gave up a two-out RBI double in the top of the sixth that broke the shutout. In the bottom half of the frame, freshman catcher Emily Wilkie and senior Jordan Matthews drew RBI walks to clinch a run-rule victory.

In the rematch, Florida right-hander Natalie Lugo made her 11th start and tossed five innings and surrendered the lone Bulls run on a passed ball. On a full count, Wilkie led off the bottom of the second inning with a solo shot — her third dinger this season — off the scoreboard in left-center.

After second baseman Hannah Adams singled in the bottom of the fifth, Echols doubled off the top of the right-center-field wall to grant the Gators a 2-1 lead. Southpaw Katie Chronister entered the circle in the top of the sixth and retired six straight USF batters to earn her first save this season.

Game One Final (R/H/E)

USF: 1 / 3 / 0

No. 5 Florida : 9 / 7 / 0

Game One Pitching Decision

Win: Elizabeth Hightower (13-2)

Loss: Georgina Corrick (11-4)

Game Two Final (R/H/E)

USF: 1 / 3 / 1

No. 5 Florida: 2 / 6 / 0

Game Two Pitching Decision

Win: Natalie Lugo (9-1)

Loss: Vivian Ponn (2-1)

Save: Katie Chronister (1)

Individual Stats (season totals)

Hightower: 6 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 5 K (1.32 ERA; 0.74 WHIP)

Lugo: 5 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K (1.41 ERA; 0.95 WHIP)

Chronister: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K (1.93 ERA; 0.90 WHIP)

Adams: 1-5, 2 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 HBP (.442 BA)

Lindsey: 2-7, 2 R (.378 BA)

Echols: 2-4, 2 R, 4 RBI, 2B, HR (9), 3 BB (.383 BA)

Lindaman: 2-5, 1 R, 2 RBI, HR (5), 2 BB (.330 BA)

A. Goelz: 3-4, 1 R, 2 BB (.278 BA)

Wilkie: 1-1, 1 R, 2 RBI, HR (3), 2 BB (.279 BA)

Busy Weekend Ahead

The Gators will return to Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium Saturday for another doubleheader. They’ll face Western Kentucky at 11 a.m. before they take on Team Canada at 1:30 p.m.

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