Sun Devils sweep Gators in Women’s College World Series to capture national title

Just two years ago, Florida Gators softball entered the Women’s College World Series and fought their way to the finals before losing in back-to-back games to Washington, the top-ranked team in the country.

Two years later, No. 4 Florida powered themselves back to the WCWS Championship Series but suffered a similar fate, dropping consecutive contests to the No. 1 Arizona State Sun Devils and handing another NCAA Championship to a Pac-10 opponent.

The Gators (56-13) fell 7-2 to the Sun Devils (60-6) on Tuesday in the second and final game of the series, ending a spectacular season and great 2011 NCAA Tournament run with a thud at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City, OK.

Playing the final game of her softball career, senior right-handed pitcher Stephanie Brombacher (who has decided to retire from the sport after graduation) started the contest for Florida and got out of a tough spot in the first.

Arizona State stranded on a runner on third, but UF made sure not to follow suit in the bottom of the inning. Junior center fielder Michelle Moultrie led off by smacking a stand-up double up the middle, advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt, and crossed the plate two batters later when sophomore right fielder Brittany Schutte flied out to deep left. Moultrie’s hit tied the WCWS record for most by a single player in the event (13).

The Sun Devils made up for their missed opportunity, beginning the second with three hits and tying the game on a bases loaded walk. With one out, shortstop Katelyn Boyd singled through the right side, scoring two and giving ASU a 3-1 lead before Brombacher retired the final two batters. Arizona State increased their advantage to 5-1 in the third when designated player Alix Johnson dropped a two-RBI blooper into shallow right.

Brombacher (20-3) was pulled for freshman RHP Hannah Rogers to begin the fourth, and the young hurler got out of the top of the inning unscathed. The Gators hit three balls hard in the bottom of the inning but all resulted in long fly outs near the warning track.

ASU added another run in the fifth, scoring on a two-out RBI single, but a play at the plate ended the frame and left the Sun Devils with a 6-1 lead. Arizona State tacked on one more in the sixth courtesy of a solo homer by RF Annie Lockwood.

UF still went down fighting with senior catcher Tiffany DeFelice hitting a RBI single with two outs in the seventh to score sophomore DP Ensley Gammel, who got on base with a single of her own to lead off the inning.

Sun Devils freshman starter Dallas Escobedo (37-3) led her team throughout the event and once again in the championship series but received plenty of help on Tuesday from Boyd and Johnson, each of whom contributed three-RBI outings at the plate.

Though they posted a record-setting performance in the tournament, Florida failed in their bid to become the first Southeastern Conference team to capture a WCWS title. It was the third time in the last five years that teams from the SEC and Pac-10 went head-to-head for the championship.

2011 NCAA Tournament Honors
Co-Most Valuable Player: Michelle Moultrie
All-Tournament Team: Moultrie, Kelsey Bruder, Brittany Schutte, Cheyenne Coyle

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13 Responses to “Sun Devils sweep Gators in Women’s College World Series to capture national title”

  1. Ken (CA) says:

    Very dissapointing last 2 games. I really thought UF was the better team after Friday, but the last 2 days showed they weren’t. Unbelievable how many 2 strike and 2 out hits ASU was able to get. That made all the difference.

  2. GatorRx says:

    They did us proud! A great season!

  3. GatorJohn says:

    I didn’t get to watch the game last night, but it seemed to me Walton was not willing to make any adjustments at the plate. We heard all about his “all or nothing” approach to hitting the entire series, but facing a pitcher that throws such a tremendous rise ball, you have to be able to shorten up and just put the ball in play instead of swinging for the fences sometimes. But I guess that’s why he is the head coach at UF and I am not :)

    I am proud of the team for making it to the championship series (again). Glad Rogers is freshman. She will only get better and hopefully the other young talent can keep the Gators at (or near) the top.

    Go Gators!

  4. Tractorr says:

    Florida is changing the culture of college softball. Softball has been dominated by the West Coast and now Florida (and it seems the SEC) are moving it East. It is going to take time but all the girls who are watching these games now are going to be playing in a few years, and they are going to grow up Gator fans.

  5. Steve says:

    Funny to say that FLA is changing the softball culture when the Gators starting line-up has more Californians than Arizona State’s line-up! In fact, FLA has more from CA than some CA teams. And, after all her moaning, Bruder struck out 3 times in the last game —including the final out. I suppose that was also the ump’s fault!

    • Pretty sure the commenter was referring to Florida the team not Florida the state. Not sure why it matters where the players are from?

      • Steve says:

        Adam: You might see it differently if a majority of the top players for the West Coast & AZ teams all came from FLA. Under those circumstances, don’t you think you’d be pointing out that those teams out west hadn’t become great with home grown players, but rather with Florida players? Can you answer that honestly?

        • Wouldn’t see it differently at all. It’s about the program. Most of UF’s lacrosse players are from the NE. Know why? That’s where the sport is exponentially popular and where the more talented players are from (because they actually participate in the sport). Does that mean Florida isn’t making a dent in the “NE culture” of the sport? It’s a team out of a southern state winning. Same thing in this case with the west coast and softball.

  6. Steve says:

    The only change in the softball culture is that west coast players are being recruited ever farther and wider.

    • Says the guy from Arizona, sure.

      The change in the culture – like with lacrosse – is that it is increasingly becoming more popular in the south. Not that you would do the research, of course, but of Florida’s incoming 2011 recruiting class four players are from Florida, one is from Missouri and two are from the West (California, Arizona).

      Just like in football – it is important to recruit the best players. Do you see people in Florida denying a “change in culture” when Oregon recruits some of the best players in the country out of the south? I’m not even sure why you care about this topic…it’s irrelevant.

  7. Steve says:

    You seem mighty interested in an “irrelevant” topic! LOL!!!

  8. Steve- Every comment here goes through moderation and 99% of all of them are approved. Your last two have been denied – not deleted (through granted there is a thin grey line there). It is quite obvious you are not here for a legitimate conversation about the topic and are simply trying to get in an argument for argument’s sake. In a situation such as this, where you are adding absolutely nothing and simply trying to get a rise out of me and/or the readers of this site, I err on the side of caution and deny the comment(s). Thanks for visiting the site.

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