Softball loses second and final meeting to Gators

Despite a solid performance from freshman pitcher Christi Ecks (4-5), the Bulls couldn’t find a way to execute in their 2-0 loss to Florida (12-5) on Wednesday. The loss was the Bulls’ second of the season against the Gators and marked the final time the teams will meet in the regular season this year.

The game was scoreless until the top of the fourth inning, when the Gators managed to put up the only runs of the game. With two outs and runners at the corners, Florida sophomore Lauren Roussell hit a shot down the third-base line for an RBI single to give the Gators a one-run lead. On the next at-bat, Gator sophomore Melissa Zick scored the final run of the game thanks to an RBI single by sophomore Lacy Howard.

Coach Ken Eriksen knows that the Bulls (10-7) are a talented squad but feels that the team needs to work on its execution and consistency if it hopes to reach its full potential.

“Sure you’d like to win every ballgame, and it didn’t happen today,” Eriksen said. “We just need to start executing a little better. We’re (looking to find) an identity right now; we’re too up and down.”

The Bulls attempted to rally in the fifth inning after sophomore Carly Griffin singled down the third-base line and freshman Britta Giddens was walked to put two runners on base. However, after a sacrifice grounder by senior Samantha Ray advanced the runners to second and third, senior Christie Chapman grounded out to first to end the inning, leaving two runners on base.

Despite earning her fifth loss of the season, Ecks actually allowed fewer hits (4) than Florida starter Stacy Stevens (6) and felt that the Bulls played well, although she admitted that another loss to in-state rival Florida stings a little more than usual.

“I think we played really well against them, except we just couldn’t get the breaks when we needed them,” Ecks said. “It just hurts to lose to them always, so it was a tough loss, but I think we played pretty well. We could’ve hit the ball a little better, but you know, (that) happens.”

Eriksen said Ecks pitched a solid game against a very talented team and believes that if the team as a whole can start playing more aggressively, the future looks bright for the Bulls.

“Christi Ecks threw a heck of a ballgame,” Eriksen said. “I mean, a freshman comes in here and throws against a team (such as Florida) and strikes out five, doesn’t walk anybody and gives up four hits – I mean, that says something. The future looks good for our pitching staff, we just need to start being a little bit more aggressive.”