Photo by Hannah White via UAA

The Florida Gators are headed back to Oklahoma City for the first time since 2019. Despite dropping the first game of the super-regional series against Virginia Tech, the Gators pounded the Hokies Saturday and Sunday to continue their season.

The Hokies hasn’t lost back to back games all year, until it mattered most.

Florida turned to freshman Lexie Delbrey to start the elimination game, but her life was made much easier by an offense that was relentless.

Kendra Falby got things going right away as her speed forced an errant throw on a routine grounder to short and allowed her to advance to second. Hannah Adams’ groundout moved Falby to third a batter later.

Just when it looked like Virginia Tech would get out of the jam unscathed, a pop up into shallow left by Charla Echols fell in fair territory after a collision by two defenders and allowed Falby to score.

The Gators followed by adding three runs in the second inning, all coming with two out. Avery Goelz doubled down the right field line to score Katie Kistler. Falby followed with a hit to second that was mishandled and allowed Goelz to score. Finally, a Skylar Wallace single through the three-four hole scored Falby and gave Florida a commanding 4-0 lead.

The Gators followed the big second inning with an even bigger third as they put a six-spot on the scoreboard and put the game in run-rule territory.

After loading the bases with no outs, Sam Roe and Goelz each hit sacrifice flys to stretch the advantage to 6-0. Wallace and Echols followed with back to back two-RBI singles.

Virginia Tech had momentum in the bottom of the third as Delbrey began to miss spots. She walked two hitters and got behind 2-0 before being pulled for Natalie Lugo. Lugo induced a flyout and a strikeout to end the jam.

A pair of singles to leadoff the top of the fourth led to Goelz’s RBI single to center to make it 11-0.

Wallace crushed a solo homer to the opposite field in the top of the fifth to make it a 12-0 game.

Florida celebrated yet another berth into the College World Series, where they will open against Oregon State at a time to be determined.

Key Performances:

  • Wallace: 3-4, HR, 4 RBI, 2 R
  • Goelz: 2-2, 2B, 3 RBI, R
  • Kistler: 2-2, BB, 3 R
  • Falby: 2-4, RBI, 3 R
  • Echols: 2-4, 2 RBI
  • Lindsey: 2-3, R

Pitching Decision:

  • W: Natalie Lugo (11-5)
  • L: Keely Rochard (26-4)

On Deck:

Florida advances to the women’s college world series in Oklahoma City. They will open the world series with a matchup against Oregon State.

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