Photo by Brian Fox | ChompTalk

The Gators surrendered only one run across 28 inning of softball this past weekend in Tampa at the USF Tournament. Five different Florida pitchers threw at least an inning led by senior right-hander Elizabeth Hightower, who started two contests and appeared in another.

Gator head coach Tim Walton credited the preparation of his pitching staff led by pitching coach Mike Bosch. “I thought the pitchers did a really good job,” Walton said. “I didn’t think Elizabeth Hightower was sharp in all three of her outings, but she really gutted it out and figured out how to do what she does.

Walton gave freshman right-hander Lexie Delbrey β€” who pitched a scoreless frame Friday against Illinois State in her collegiate debut β€” the nod to start in the circle Saturday versus No. 16 Michigan. Delbrey exceeded expectations as the Bainbridge, Georgia, native hurled a one-hit, complete-game, shutout in Florida’s first ranked matchup this season.

“This is one of my biggest dreams ever,” Delbrey said. “I was a little too excited at first, but then I kind of calmed down and then all of my pitches started settling down and looking better.”

Following an unremarkable three-run performance Friday, Florida’s bats started to heat up Saturday against Kansas City when a sixth-inning hit parade produced four insurance runs. Senior center fielder Cheyenne Lindsey and fifth-year second baseman Hannah Adams drove a pair RBI triples into the opposite outfield gaps.

Later that afternoon, Florida’s offense struggled against Michigan. The game was scoreless until the top of the sixth when Lindsey delivered a clutch, two-out, grand slam.

In the final game, Florida scored six runs in the second inning and tacked on five more in the seventh en route to a commanding 12-0 victory over USF. A whopping 11 different Gators recorded a hit led by redshirt junior Skylar Wallace’s multi-single outing. After an uncharacteristic 0-12 start at the plate, senior third baseman Charla Echols poked a two-run double into center field.

Game 1

Florida: 3 / 6 / 0

Illinois State: 0 / 3 / 1

Win: Hightower (1-0)

Loss: Ross (0-1)

Save: Delbrey (1)

Game 2

Kansas City: 1 / 5 / 1

Florida: 7 / 10 / 0

Win: Hightower (2-0)

Loss: Hovlenad (0-1)

Game 3

Florida: 4 / 6 / 0

Michigan: 0 / 1 / 0

Win: Delbrey (1-0)

Loss: Beaubien (0-1)

Game 4

Florida: 12 / 12 / 0

USF: 0 / 3 / 0

Win: Hightower (3-0)

Loss: Poepping (1-1)

Save: Trlicek (1)

Individual Stats

  1. 2B Adams: 6-12 (.500), 2 R, 2 RBI, 3B
  2. 1B Wallace: 5-14 (.357), 2 R, RBI, 3 SB
  3. 3B Echols: 1-16 (.063), 2 R, 2 RBI
  4. SS Walsh: 2-13 (.154), R, RBI
  5. C Wilkie: 2-4 (.500), 2 R
  6. CF Lindsey: 4-13 (.308), 4 R, 7 RBI, 3B, HR (1)
  7. C/DP Roe: 2-6 (.333), R, 2 RBI, HR (1)
  8. RF A. Goelz: 2-9 (.222), 3 R, 2 RBI, 3B
  9. LF Falby: 6-11 (.545), 3 R, 4 RBI, HR (1)
  • RHP Hightower: 12.1 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 12 K (0.57 ERA; 0.81 WHIP)
  • RHP Delbrey: 8.1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 K (0.00 ERA; 0.36 WHIP)
  • RHP Lugo: 3.1 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K (0.00 ERA; 1.50 WHIP)
  • LHP Trlicek: 3 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K (0.00 ERA; 0.67 WHIP)
  • RHP Mesiemore: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K (0.00 ERA; 0.00 WHIP)

Next Up

The Gators will travel north to face Jacksonville on the road Tuesday before they return to Gainesville for their home opener against the Dolphins on Wednesday. Both contests will begin at 6 p.m.

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