The college softball season is formally underway and Florida Softball was in Tampa over the weekend and went 4-1 in the USF-Rawlings Invitational. The Gators picked up wins over Oregon State, USF, Illinois State, and Bethune-Cookman while falling to Michigan in 10 innings.
The following are three takeaways from the weekend for the Gators.
Florida Softball: Off and Running
Freshmen Pitchers Start Well
One of the huge themes for the Gators this season is the overhaul of their pitching staff. Florida rolled out three true freshmen among their four pitchers, and everyone held up well. Ava Brown started against Oregon State and Illinois State and went a combined eight innings while allowing zero runs.
Keagan Rothrock was the workhorse of the weekend. Even though she took the loss to Michigan, she was on the mound for 19 innings and left Tampa with a 0.74 ERA. She threw 14 strikeouts against just four walks.
And while Brown and Rothrock are the two headliners given they are former Gatorade National Players of the Year, Olivia Miller started her college career with a bang when she threw a perfect game against Bethune-Cookman.
The Bats are Jeckel and Hyde
One of the themes for the Gators last year was that when the bats were on, they could run rule teams out of the building. But when they went up against stronger pitching, the bats turned silent in a hurry.
In their first two games against Oregon State and Michigan, Florida managed two runs total and were fortunate to scrape out a 1-0 win over Oregon State while they weren't able to secure the win over Michigan and lost 2-1 in ten innings.
Once they took on the weaker competition, Florida racked up 40 runs over their final three games.
Skylar Wallace is looking like a star once again and has opened the season with a .500 batting average, .579 on base percentage, and two homeruns.
Kendra Falby hit .429 for the weekend with seven RBIs, and freshman Ariel Kowalewski has started her career hitting .400 and a home run.
Fielding Needs to be Cleaned Up
The one bummer for the weekend were the amount of errors the Gators committed. Florida committed five errors and left Tampa with a .968 fielding percentage.
Last year the Gators committed 43 errors and had a fielding percentage of .973.