Photo by Brian Fox | ChompTalk

On Wednesday, Florida was granted the opportunity to chase an SEC title from its home stadium for the first time since 2005. The Gators arrived at Pressly stadium, and after some delay, took the field for their first round matchup against Texas A&M. Today, UF will take on the second leg of its title chase after grabbing the win and moving on to the second round.

Fifth-seeded Florida (42-15, 13-11 SEC) defeated the No. 12 Aggies (29-26, 6-18) 4-1 in the first round of the SEC softball tournament in convincing fashion. The Gators scored all four of their runs in the first two innings and held Texas A&M scoreless until the sixth.

Fifth-year second baseman Hannah Adams helped put Florida on the board first. After missing the final 14 games of the 2022 regular season due to a throwing hand injury, Adams returned to the plate to the delight of Florida fans.

The two-time All SEC first team selectee took the plate and singled, before being brought home on an RBI single from third baseman Charla Echols.

Adams would add on the final run of the game for Florida in miraculous fashion on a double-steal, RBI double bunt which brought home centerfielder Kendra Falby.

From there, it was all about the Gators defense.

Florida ace Elizabeth Hightower earned her 15th win of the season after pitching five innings and allowing just three hits. Hightower gave up the Aggies only run of the game in the sixth inning before Natalie Lugo replaced her to deliver the save and close out the game for the Gators.

Key Performances:

  • Hannah Adams, 2B
    • 2 H, 1 RBI
  • Kendra Falby, CF
    • 2 H, 2 R
  • Charla Echols, 3B
    • 2 H, 1 R, 1 RBI

Pitching Decision

  • Elizabeth Hightower, UF: W (15-7)
    • 5.1 IP, 3 H, 1 K, 1 ER, 2.22 ERA
  • Grace Uribe, TAMU: L (5-4)
    • 1.1 IP, 5 H, 0 K, 4 ER, 5.58 ERA
  • Natalie Lugo, UF: Save (4)
    • 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 K, 0 ER, 2.21 ERA

On Deck

Up next, Florida takes on fourth-seeded Kentucky. UK is loaded with offense, ranking top-ten nationally in batting average and scoring. UF has yet to take on the Wildcats this season, and will need its defense to step up once more to claim victory and punch its ticket to the tournament semifinals.

First pitch on Thursday is set for 5 p.m. The game will be broadcast on the SEC Network.

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