After dropping last weekend’s home series to No. 13 Tennessee, No. 7 Florida bounced back with a 10-3 victory over No. 22 UCF Wednesday at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.
The Gators completed the home-and-home series sweep against their in-state rival as they prevailed 12-11 over the Knights earlier this season in Orlando. Florida improves to 28-5 overall and 15-4 at home.
Senior right-handers Elizabeth Hightower and Natalie Lugo made their 14th and 12th appearances in the circle this year. Hightower pitched the first five innings — allowing three earned runs via a pair of RBI triples — before Lugo came in for relief in the top of the sixth and threw two shutout frames to secure the win. Hightower picked up the win — matching freshman right-hander Lexie Delbrey’s team-high nine victories.
The Gators came out hot offensively as they scored two runs in the first inning followed by six runs in the second. Redshirt junior shortstop Skylar Wallace scored Florida’s first run of the night after she led off with a hit-by-pitch.
Wallace stole her 29th and 30th bases this season, which ranks second in the nation behind only USF outfielder Alexis Johns (36). A UCF error in the bottom of the second allowed Florida to load the bases and drive in four runs with two outs. Sophomore left fielder Katie Kistler lined a two-run single into right-center before sophomore catcher Emily Wilkie roped a two-run double down the left-field line.
In the bottom of the sixth, Florida second baseman Hannah Adams led off with a solo shot — her third home run this year — to take a commanding 10-3 lead.
#22 UCF : 3 / 6 / 1
#6 Florida: 10 / 9 / 0
Win: Hightower (9-1)
Loss: Jewell: 2-3
RHP Hightower: 5 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 3 K [1.87/1.19 season ERA/WHIP]
RHP Mesiemore: 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 0 K
LHP Pittman: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K
- SS Wallace: 0-1, 3 R, 2 BB, HBP, K, 2 SB [.434 season BA]
- 2B Adams: 1-3, R, 3 RBI, HR (3) [.375]
- 3B Echols: 1-3, 2 R, RBI, 2B, BB [.295]
- RF Lindsey: 0-3, R, RBI [.379]
- DP Walsh: 2-4, RBI, 2B [.291]
- LF Kistler: 2-4, R, 2 RBI [.369]
- C Wilkie: 1-3, 2 RBI, 2B [.222]
- CF Falby: 0-2, R, BB, K, SB [.420]
- 1B A. Goelz: 2-3, R, SB [.347]
Following a five-game homestand, the Gators will travel to Auburn this weekend for a three-game series against the No. 17 Tigers. Auburn enters the series tied with No. 4 Alabama for first place in the SEC (6-3) and boasts a 21-1 home record. Florida has won its past five meetings with Auburn, which includes three shutout victories.
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