Smyrna high school graduate Payton Dixon now USF Bull pitcher photo courtesy of USF Athletics

Smyrna’s Dixon takes down No. 9 Gators

Nick HallidayHeadlines, Sports

Smyrna high school graduate Payton Dixon now USF Bull pitcher photo courtesy of USF Athletics

Smyrna high school graduate Payton Dixon now USF Bull pitcher, photo courtesy of USF Athletics

On a partly cloudy, 82 degree night in Gainesville, Florida, Payton Dixon, a two-time State Champion softball pitcher from Smyrna, DE earned the biggest win of her collegiate career. 


The Bulls put up a 7-4 win over the 9th ranked Florida Gators who are 37-4 this season. This is the first time the Bulls have defeated the Gators since 2012. Earlier this season these two teams faced off on February 11th at USF, where Dixon only pitched in the 6th inning in relief of Belle Sardja. That game ended 12-3 in favor of the Gators. 


Last night, the tables would turn. Payton throws consistently in the mid to upper 60’s (mph), has a nasty changeup and backdoor curveball that kept Florida’s hitters off balance all night. 


Dixon recorded a complete game win against the Gators, allowing 7 hits, 4 runs, 2 walks, hitting 3 batters, and striking out 5 while throwing 133 pitches. 


Payton Dixon profile picture, courtesy of USF Athletics

Speaking with Payton Dixon after the game, she said “my curveball was just on tonight but I had to adjust as they backed off the plate. That allowed me to use the backdoor curve and changeup later on in the counts.” Going into tonight she said she was “very aware of Skylar Wallace”, a lefty shortstop with speed. Dixon’s approach was to keep her off the bases, but a HBP would put Wallace on in the bottom of the 5th. Wallace would make it to third base in the inning but did not score for Florida. Payton said “this is a great win and to have the offensive production of my team tonight was great. It’s so much easier to pitch when you have runs on the board.” She said she feels good and is healthy. “This win proves we can play with and beat anybody, but she looks at this as ‘just another game’  and we are on to face Wichita State in a weekend series at home.”


USF Head Coach, Ken Erikson, has made Dixon (15-5) the ace of his staff this season. Dixon is a redshirt sophomore this season after missing her freshman year with an injury and missing part of last season to injury. This season she has matured and is in control in the circle for the Bulls. 


Prior to taking down the Gators last night, the Bulls came off a weekend sweep against the Memphis Tigers after which Payton Dixon was named AAC Pitcher of the Week (Apr. 8) for her performance against the Tigers.


Payton Dixon continues to prove to be one the strongest pitchers in the AAC conference.

She currently leads the conference in six categories and ranks in the top-40 in the

nation for eight.


Nationally, Dixon is ranked 18th in victories (15), 21st in games started (19), 24th in

shutouts (4), 24th in earned run average (1.30), 26th in innings pitched (124), 32nd

hits allowed per seven innings (4.52), 36th in pitching appearances (26) and 38th in

strikeouts (114).

Article Pic

photo from the live stream on DirectTV of Payton Dixon facing the Florida Gators

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