Another beautiful Florida afternoon encapsulated the city of Tampa. The USF Bulls looked to rebound after suffering their first loss last night against the Oregan State Beavers. The opponent that faced them in the mid-afternoon affair was the Florida Gators. The same Gators that had a perfect game by pitcher Olivia Miller who threw the sixth perfect game in the history of the program. It would come in a blowout win beating the Buthune Cookman Cougars 16-0. The first pitch took place at 2:35 p.m. The crowds at USF Softball stadium have been packed no matter what games are going on. The Bulls were in white uniforms with green pinstripes and once again dawned a green visor. The Gators were in all-blue uniforms with a tri-color visor. The question is would the Bulls rebound or would the Gators use the momentum from their previous game? The pitching matchup for the visiting Florida Gators was Keagan Rothrock and for the USF Bulls, Julia Apostolakos.
The Gators got aggressive early on the base paths and it paid off. Skylar Wallace came around to score and give Florida an early lead. After a misplay in the infield, the Bulls found themselves down 2-0. Apostolakos was having issues throwing strikes and the walks she allowed came back to haunt her. The USF bullpen was up early. The good news is they allowed only two runs. The Bulls got their first hit from Alanah Rivera with two outs in the bottom of the first. But Rothrock would put the Bulls down after four hitters. Katie Kisler was hit in the helmet but was ok as she walked to first base. USF miscues continued in the top inning as the second baseman had the ball go off her glove.
The next Gators’ hitter Avery Goelz hit a basing clearing triple to increase the lead for Florida and shortly after that the Bulls made a change at pitcher. The new pitcher was Belle Sardja. That did not stop the Gators from stealing bases. Sardja was able to calm down and keep the Gators’ runners on bases only allowing two runs. In the top of of third, the Gators helped the Bulls as Ava Brown ran into the ball and was called out. Luckily third baseman Tieley Vaughn made a great catch that was hit hard right at her to keep the Gators from scoring. Florida had the bases loaded. USF got on the board in the bottom of the fourth inning on an errand throw by the Gators. Unfortunately, all the Bulls would get is one run leaving two runners in scoring position.
Heading into the final three innings the Gators led 4-1. That lead would grow on a two-run home run by Ava Brown. Florida added another run on a misfire pick play by catcher Rian Eigenmann. The Gators scored three runs to increase their lead to 7-1. The Bulls had just four hits and two errors that have helped Florida cruise. Florida would hit another two-run home run from Baylee Goddard in the top of the sixth increasing their lead to 9-1. The Bulls answered with a solo home run from Bailey Drapola. That is all USF could come with as they trailed 9-2 heading into the last inning of the game. Florida added two more runs another two-run homer from Skylar Wallace. Walks continue to haunt USF as Florida adds another run to increase their lead to 12-2. The Bulls could not rally and the final score was 12-3.
Can the USF Bulls bounce back after two straight losses? Leave a comment below.
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