Florida outfielder Katie Kistler (29) celebrates with teammates Thursday night after hitting a home run in the fifth inning of a Women's College World Series game against the Oklahoma State Cowgirls at Devon Park in Oklahoma City. Florida won 1-0. [BRYAN TERRY/THE OKLAHOMAN-USA TODAY NETWORK]

Women’s College World Series: Gators Win Opener

The No. 4 national seed Florida Gators softball team beat the No.5 national seed Oklahoma State Cowgirls 1-0 late Thursday night at Devon Park in Oklahoma City in an opening game of the Women’s College World Series.

The Gators (52-13) used a strong pitching performance from SEC Freshman of the Year Keagan Rothrock (31-7) and a solo home run from senior Katie Kistler to advance to a winner’s bracket game against top seed Texas (53-8) at 7 p.m. ET Saturday.

Rothrock Shines

Rothrock was able to get the better of the Cowgirl lineup in the second matchup between the teams. After losing 3-0 on Feb. 19 in Gainesville, she did not allow the Cowgirls (49-11) to score.

In her 25th complete game of the season, Rothrock gave up only two singles, two walks and struck out three batters.

She is the first UF pitcher to record a shutout in a World Series game since Kelly Barnhill in 2017.

Offense Breaks Through

The Gators did not record a hit in the first four innings. Oklahoma State starter Lexi Kilfoyl (26-4) had not allowed a run against the Gators in 11 innings.

But that changed in the bottom of the fifth when Kistler hit her fifth homer on a full-count pitch to give the Gators the lead.

Kistler’s dramatic homer followed a highlight play by teammate Kedra Falby in center field in the top of the inning. Falby made a leaping catch against the wall to rob OSU of a potential extra-base hit.

The only other UF hit was a single from Korbe Otis in the the sixth.

Kilfoyl pitched six innings and gave up the one run on two hits. She struck out five batters and walked three.

Up Next

Saturday’s game will be televised on ESPN. The winner advances to the semifinals of the tournament.

Texas beat the eight seed Stanford Cardinal 4-0 in an earlier game of the eight-team, double-elimination tournament. Stanford (49-16) eliminated OSU 8-0 (6 inn.) on Friday night.

About Jackson Colding

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

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