Over the next three days, No. 14/15 Gator softball team will play five games as its season gets underway at the Kajikawa Classic. Hosted by Arizona State, three teams ranked inside the preseason top 15 will participate in the classic.
Coming off a season in which they went 48-13 (21-7 SEC), but imploded just before the start of the College World Series, the Gators are looking to regain their winning form. Florida head coach Tim Walton says playing top teams at the beginning of the season will give his team a chance to gauge where they're at.
The Gators are 25-5 all-time on opening day, and 11-3 in season openers under Walton. He adds his team's hard work in practice has prepared them for the start of the season.
First up for Florida is Creighton Friday afternoon at 4 pm, followed by a match up against No. 5/6 Oregon at 7:30 pm. The Gators and Jays have never met, but Florida owns the all-time series against Oregon 4-2. Freshman catcher Aubree Munro says she doesn't care who they play, she's just excited to go against new competition.
Seven of Florida's 16 roster members are newcomers, while six others are just sophomores. Despite being young, the Gators are full of talent. Three incoming freshmen were ranked in ESPN's Top 100 recruiting list and four sophomores made last year's SEC All-Freshman Team. Walton says he wants his team to play within itself and focus on getting better with each game.
After taking on the Creighton and the Ducks Friday, the Gators play Cal State Northridge and No. 3/3 Cal Saturday, before finishing up the road trip with a date against No. 13/14 Arizona on Sunday.