Florida softball moves on to SEC Tournament semifinal round

Florida’s softball program advanced to the Southeastern Conference Tournament Semifinals on Friday afternoon with a victory over the Georgia Bulldogs at Jane B. Moore Field in Auburn, Alabama.

The second-seeded Gators (44-12) prevailed, 9-4, quarterfinals over the seventh-seeded ‘Dawgs (39-16) to keep their SEC title hopes alive. The two teams erupted for a combined six home runs, with three coming from three UF’s Skylar Wallace, Jocelyn Erickson and Emily Wilkie.

SEC Freshman of the Year winner, pitcher Keagan Rothrock (24-6), took the ball in the circle to start for Florida and held UGA scoreless for 5 1/3 innings. Back-to-back hits with one out tied the game 2-2, but the Gators came storming back in the next innings.

The Orange and Blue grabbed a 6-2 lead after the fifth inning on a rally that began with a hit-by-pitch and a walk. Wallace drove in her third run of the game with a drive off the left-field wall for an RBI single on a full count, followed by Erickson’s 12th home run of the season over the right-field wall that scored three more for the Gators.

The Bulldogs bounced back to cut into the lead with back-to-back solo home runs in the top of the sixth. But those would be the last runs they could muster.

Florida extended its lead to 9-4 with a three-run frame in the bottom of the sixth inning, and from there as they say, that is all she wrote. Georgia attempted to rally and loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the seventh, but reliever Ava Brown settled in and retired the heart of the UGA lineup in order for her second save of the spring.

Florida will play the winner of the South Carolina Gamecocks and Texas A&M Aggies following the conclusion of the LSU Tigers and Missouri Tigers semifinal game on ESPN2 later on Friday.

Follow us @GatorsWire on Twitter and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Florida Gators news, notes and opinions.

Story originally appeared on Gators Wire