Gators softball
Florida outfielder Kendra Falby (27) talks Florida coach Tim Walton during an NCAA softball game at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. [Alan Youngblood/Gainesville Sun]

NCAA Softball Gainesville Regional: Florida Gulf Coast vs. Florida

The Gainesville Regional of the NCAA Division 1 Softball Tournament is set for Friday-Sunday at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.

The No. 4 national seed Florida Gators (46-12) square off against the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles (37-19) in the first game that started after an hour weather delay.

The Florida Atlantic Owls (41-14) take on the South Alabama Jaguars (32-18-1) in the second game scheduled for 3:30 p.m. (ESPN+).

Friday’s winners meet at 1 p.m. Saturday and the losers’ play in a elimination game at 3:30 p.m. The loser of the 1 p.m. game plays the winner of the 3:30 p.m. contest at 6 p.m. in another elimination game. Saturday’s winners play Sunday for the right to advance to the Super Regional the following weekend.

Florida has hosted 17 regionals under coach Tim Walton. He recalled his first regional tournament with the Gators, a losing effort against FAU:

The Gators have won eight consecutive games, including their sixth SEC Tournament last weekend. Walton said the Gators have improved through the highs and lows of the season:

As the regular season progressed, the team had to make some changes based on performance. Keagan Rothrock and Ava Brown had to adjust their pitching. Walton recalls making short-notice adjustments that have impacted the team’s performance:

Even though the team has a smaller roster, it still performs at a high level. This can be attributed to the individual approach the coaches take. Pitchers have one-on-one training sessions in the bullpen. Hitting practice also takes place in smaller groups. The coaching staff has continued to work hard this season and the results speak for themselves.

Florida’s fanbase has also played an instrumental role in the team’s success, Walton said. Spectators have consistently packed Pressly Stadium to support the Gators:

On Deck

The Gators are 8-2 all-time against Eagles, including a 9-0 (5 innings) decision March 20 in Fort Myers.

Should the Gators advance from the double-elimination regional, they would then host the winner of the Lafayette (La.) Regional, which is highlighted by 13th seed Louisiana (42-17), in the Super Regional May 23-25 or 24-26.

The Women’s College World Series at Devon Park-OGE Energy Field in Oklahoma City is scheduled for May 30-June 7.

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