Gaining the final out to finish the bottom of the seventh yesterday, the Florida Gator softball team was able to avenge a loss from one year ago. The USF Bulls last year knocked out the Gators in an NCAA Regional but this year, a different result.
Up until yesterday, the Gators found no challenge from any opponent in this year’s regional, defeating the Hampton Pirates on Friday 7-1, followed by an 11-1 win over USF on Saturday.
However, another matchup against USF on Sunday in the regional final brought more challenges than the day before but the Gators still prevailed, beating the Bulls 2-0 to advance to NCAA Super Regional play.
The Bulls again threw their star left-hander Sarah Nevins and the Gators offense could not get much going. The Gators managed only one hit in seven innings, and had to find their way on base by other means. Florida freshman second baseman Kelsey Stewart, who got the only hit for Florida on the day, talks about the difference in Nevins’ performance from Saturday to Sunday.
Although Nevins had six strikeouts, she also gave up six walks and hit two batters. It was during the fourth inning that the Gators were able to score both runs thanks to their free passes around the bases.
Gator coach Tim Walton talks about his team finding ways to score runs against the Bulls’ great pitching.
While Nevins’ pitching performance was good, Florida’s Hannah Rogers was even better. Rogers threw all seven innings allowing no runs on just three hits while fanning five hitters. Rogers talks about her outing yesterday.
The junior pitcher led the team yesterday as she’s done all year, and Walton talks about the little change that was made to Rogers pitching style.
With Sunday’s victory, the Gators showed that they could win under any circumstances. This win gives the Gators a record of 55-7 on the season, and adding in an SEC championship, Walton says this year’s team is truly special.
The Gators have now clinched a spot in yet another Super Regional, and will play host to the UAB Blazers next weekend. Game 1 will be Saturday May 25th, at 1pm.