Florida Gators outfielder Korbe Otis (33) is congratulated by teammates in the bottom of the 5th Friday after hitting a solo home run making it 4-2 Gators against the Baylor Bears at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. [Doug Engle/Gainesville Sun]

NCAA Softball Gainesville Super Regional: Gators Win Game 1 Against Baylor

The No. 4 national seed Florida Gators softball team beat the unseeded Baylor Bears 4-2 on Friday at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium to take a 1-0 lead in the NCAA Gainesville Super Regional.

The Gators (50-12) scored three runs in the first inning against the Bears (35-22) to take control and eventually put them one win away from advancing to next week’s Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City.

“Eleven of them haven’t been to the College World Series before, so this is as close as they have ever been, you can almost taste it,” UF coach Tim Walton said.

Binford Shines For Baylor

Baylor came out swinging in the top of the first, scoring one run on three hits before leaving the bases loaded.

Starting pitcher Aliyah Binford (13-12) hit a RBI single to give the Bears the 1-0 lead. UF starting pitcher Keagan Rothrock was able to limit the damage to one run.

After the Gators made it 3-1, Binford hit a solo home run (her third) to cut their deficit to 3-2.

In the circle, Binford pitched six innings and gave up four runs. She surrendered five hits, two walks and struck out four batters.

Gators Start Fast

The Gators responded immediately in the bottom of the first with three runs, all three with two strikes.

A Korbe Otis hit by pitch and a Skylar Wallace walk provided two runners on base for SEC Player of the Year Jocelyn Erickson. She hit a RBI double to make it 1-1 for her 79th RBI of the season, one shy of the UF single-season record held by Megan Bush. On the same play, Wallace scored her 86th run of the season and the 303rd career run, the most in NCAA history.

Facing two strikes and two outs, Katie Kistler hit a two-run double to make it 3-1.

The Gators did not score again until the fifth when Otis hit a solo home run (her ninth) to make it 4-2.

Rothrock Battles

Rothrock (29-6) struggled in the first inning, but settled in to battle for her 23rd complete game of the season and the Gators 12th consecutive win. She gave up two runs on six hits and struck out five batters. She walked one batter.

“I think just knowing that the first inning of my first Super Regional was done, and I think just knowing that my offense had my back I was just able to go out there and have fun and play free,” Rothrock said.

Up Next

Game 2 Saturday is scheduled for 11 a.m. (ESPN and 98.1-FM/850-AM WRUF) with a berth to the WCWS on the line. A Gators win would put them in the eight-team field in Oklahoma City for the 12th time and a Thursday game against the winner of the Stillwater (Okla.) Super Regional between fifth national seed Oklahoma State (45-10) and unseated Arizona (35-16-1).

The If Necessary Game is scheduled for Sunday (time TBD).

About Jackson Colding

Jackson Colding is a second-year journalism sports and media student at the University of Florida.

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