Gator Softball celebrates their advance to their 11th overall Women's College World Series. (Photo from Gators Softball Twitter)

Gators Softball Ranked No. 2 by D1Softball

The Florida softball program attained the No. 2 spot in D1Softball’s Top 50 programs, the publication released on Thursday morning. Among the factors in determining the rankings, the publication noted the importance of a program’s consistency over the last decade, its current success and projected outlook over the next five years.

Consistency is Key

Despite a shortened 2020 season, the Gators have been one of the most consistent programs in the nation. In the last 10 years, Florida won the NCAA Tournament twice (2014 and 2015), was a WCWS runner-up in 2017 and competed in the Women’s College World Series seven times (2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2022). It also had nine NCAA Super Regional appearances (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021 and 2022) and nine NCAA tournament appearances in the same years.

The Gators were also regular conference champions in 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 nd 2021, and won the conference tournament championship in 2013, 2018 and 2019.

The Orange & Blue is one of two programs to have multiple national championship wins and at least three championship appearances over the last decade. The team racked up back-to-back titles in 2014 and 2015 and its fifth championship appearance in 2017.

Winning with Walton

Head Coach Tim Walton has led the Gators to 16 regional appearances, 14 super regionals and 11 WCWS since taking over the program in 2006. His championship winning 2015 squad earned various awards, including five All-Americans, WCWS Most Outstanding Player and the National Fastpitch Coaches Association National Coaching Staff of the Year.

Players to Note

D1Softball’s ranking noted several Gators in the program’s history, including four-time All-American and SEC Player of the Year Amanda Lorenz. Lorenz is the only Gator to acquire a career batting average of .407. She also led Florida to three straight WCWS.

Two-time All-American and 2021 Athletes Unlimited Championship Aleshia Ocasio also grabbed the publication’s attention. Ocasio set the program record for combined shutouts (25) and finished with a 71-14 career record.

Gators Softball

Gators softball takes to the diamond Oct. 21 for the first of its fall exhibition games. The Gators host Jacksonville University, followed by Florida State, USF and Saint Leo before heading to Orlando to face UCF. Regular-season play begins in March.

About Scarlett Cooney

Scarlett Cooney is a third-year journalism student specializing in sports and media.

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