The first weekend of the 2023 college softball season did not disappoint. If we learned anything this past week, it is that nothing is a given in the college game. DI Florida schools posted an opening week record of 35-23.
Offensive Player of the Week: Katie Dack (Florida State)
Pitcher of the Week: Elizabeth Hightower (Florida
Florida went a perfect 4-0 and moved up to No. 3 in the Coach’s poll, while Florida State (6-1) dropped a spot to No. 6. Florida will not see a ranked opponent until February 23, when they face now No. 2 UCLA. The Gator’s bats were alive this past week as they hit 8 home runs and had four players batting .400 or higher. Those were Sam Roe (.600), Charla Echols (.500), Avery Goelz (.455), and Baylee Goddard (.444). Roe also had a home run and six RBI. The pitching staff was solid, posting a 1.05 ERA with 16 strikeouts over four games. Elizabeth Hightower led the way going 2-0, allowing just two hits, no runs, and 12 strikeouts. The Gators should roll again this weekend as they head west the following week.
The Florida State Seminoles were upset by Longwood 5-4. Since that loss, the Seminoles have gone 4-0, outscoring opponents 30-2, including a 5-0 win over Longwood. The bats were slow to get started but woke up halfway through the weekend. Michaela Edenfield had an excellent weekend batting .425 with two doubles, two home runs, and seven RBI. Texas A&M Transfer Katie Dack posted a .357 average with one triple, two home runs, and eight RBI. The pitching staff worked well as a group ending with just a 1.00 ERA with 30 strikeouts. The Seminoles will be tested this weekend as all four teams they face are ranked in the top 25. They will face No. 4 Arkansas, No. 2 UCLA, No. 22 Louisiana, and No. 12 Alabama at the Clearwater Invite.
The UCF Knights went 3-1, only dropping a game to No. 13 Georgia. Chloe Evans hit .545 with five RBI on the weekend. Sophomore Kaitlyn Felton went 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA and 17 strikeouts on the weekend. This week they will be tested at TaxAct Clearwater Invitational. USF opened their season with a win over No. 25 Michigan. Redshirt Freshman Payton Dixon (1-0) shinned in the circle allowing zero runs and striking out 16 on the weekend. For FGCU (3-2), sophomore Kayleigh Roper batted .333 with two home runs and seven RBI.
Heading to Jacksonville (3-2), the Dolphins will look to rebound from a weekend where their bats and arms struggled. North Florida went 2-1 on the week. Redshirt junior Chloe Culp hit .429 with two doubles and five RBI. Bethune-Cookman (1-4) got a good offensive performance from sophomore Desirae Martinez, who posted a .385 average with a home run and four RBI. Stetson went 3-2 on the week. They did get strong pitching from Lauren Hobbs, who allowed just two earned runs over 15 innings while striking out 12.
Jordan Clark and FAU went 3-2 on her first weekend as the new head coach for the Owls. Junior Riley Olson hit .500 with two doubles and three RBI. Florida A&M (2-3) had some struggles at the plate and will look to get them going this weekend. FIU (3-2) had a decent weekend and had two players hit .500 or above in senior Frankie Izard (.556) and junior Alexis Ross (5.29).