Image Credit: ESPN Images
No. 1 Florida Gators softball (50-4, 18-4 SEC) has rolled through the season. It earned what it hopes to be its first of many pieces of hardware late Friday night as Florida officially won the 2016 SEC Championship for the regular season.
The Gators posted a 9-0 shut out the Arkansas Razorbacks (17-37) earlier in the evening – led by senior center fielder Kirsti Merritt (2/3, HR, 2 RBI, R, SB) and sophomore right-handed pitcher Aleshia Ocasio (19-1, 5.0 IP, 3 H, 5 K) – but it was some help they got later in the night that clinched the title for UF.
A Texas A&M victory over Auburn, which knocked the Tigers to 15-6 in league play, ensured Florida could not be topped with two regular-season games left to play.
The SEC regular-season title is the second straight for the Gators, which last hoisted back-to-back crowns in 2008-09. Overall, Florida softball has now won six SEC regular-season titles, five in the last nine years (1998, 2008-09, 2013, 2015-16).
Following the completion of the Arkansas series, UF will take the No. 1 seed in the 2016 SEC Tournament, where it will receive a bye before beginning second-round action.