Oklahoma City — The number two seed Florida softball team came out swinging in Game 1 at the Women’s College World Series to defeat the Georgia Bulldogs, 11-3 on Thursday night in Oklahoma City.
For the fourth time in program history, the Gators run-ruled an opponent at the WCWS. The Gators run-ruled Texas A&M in last year’s opener. Florida is the first team to open the WCWS with run-rule victories in back-to-back years since Arizona 1994 and 1995.
Georgia’s Justice Milz put the Bulldogs on the board first with a two-run home run, her 15th homer of the season. But the Gators weren’t down for long.
All 10 of Florida’s batters scored at least one run, staring off with freshman Jordan Matthews.
In the bottom of the inning, Matthews ripped the ball to the fence in center field. It looked like it was going to be a repeat of her last at-bat when she hit the game-winning three run home run at the Gainesville Super Regionals. However, she was short of a home run, but her double brought in the Gators’ first two runs.
For the 17th time this season, Florida recorded more than one home run in a game. It is also their third three-homer game this season.
Senior Aleshia Ocasio (23-7) gave the Gators a lead they would not give up after she hit a three run homer in the second inning; it was her fifth home run of the season and it gave the Gators a 5-2 lead.
Jordan Roberts later drove in a couple of runs with a long home run and she says it was a special moment.
Additionally, freshman Hannah Adams homered, her third of the season. She also went on to record an RBI walk and an RBI hit-by-pitch.
The Gators had a lot of runs, but they also did a lot of walking.
In the second inning, SEC Player of the Year Amanda Lorenz was walked for the 67th time in a single-season, which tied Florida’s record. It was Florida’s 350th walk of the season, which broke the NCAA record held by Auburn (349, 2016). The Gators tacked on six more, finishing with 356 walks.
Lorenz has now safely reached base in all 65 games this season.
In the Circle
In addition to leading the Gators with three runs, Ocasio threw a complete game in the circle, picking up her 23rd victory. Ocasio struck out seven Bulldogs and allowed three runs on seven hits. She also allowed one walk.
Georgia’s Mary Wilson Avant (22-8) took the loss. She allowed five runs on four hits in the 1.2 innings pitched. Avant struck out one Gator, Jamie Hoover, and allowed three walks.
The game ended in the bottom of the fifth, when Janell Wheaton took first base after she was hit by a pitch. The walk brought in Hoover for the final run to end the game in a less exciting way than it started.
The No. 2 seed Gators take on the No. 3 seed UCLA Friday at 9:30 p.m. ET. This will be the first meeting between the two teams this season.