Defensive lapses, ice cold bats doom Florida in 1-0 loss to Michigan in WCWS Championship Series

Early defensive lapses and an inability to make any serious contact at the plate doomed No. 1 Florida Gators softball (59-7) on Tuesday as the No. 3 Michigan Wolverines (60-7) scooted by with a 1-0 win to extend the 2015 Women’s College World Series Championship Series in Oklahoma City.

The best-of-three series will move to a game three on Wednesday as Florida, which was shutout for the first time this season, looks to win back-to-back national titles and become the first team in WCWS history to win the crown after losing game two of the championship series.

Wolverines right-handed pitcher Haylie Wagner stymied the Gators all night, striking out five and not allowing a single walk despite giving up six scattered hits. She has now thrown 20 shutout innings at the WCWS, a necessity in order to edge Florida senior RHP Lauren Haeger (6.0 IP, 4 H, ER, BB, K), who had a solid outing in her own right.

Continue Reading » Defensive lapses, ice cold bats doom Florida in 1-0 loss to Michigan in WCWS Championship Series

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Florida Gators softball escapes Michigan 3-2, wins game one of WCWS Championship Series

No. 1 Florida Gators softball had to sweat until the final out but eventually came through with a 3-2 victory over the No. 3 Michigan Wolverines on Monday night in the first game of the 2015 Women’s College World Series Championship Series in Oklahoma City.

The win was the Gators’ 15th consecutive NCAA Tournament victory, tying a national record. It also snapped a 28-game win streak held by the Wolverines.

With senior Lauren Haeger off the mound and on the bench resting, Florida freshman right-handed pitcher Aleshia Ocasio held Michigan scoreless for the first five innings of the game. Ocasio (6.0 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 3 K) faltered in the sixth, giving up two runs, but had plenty of run support from Haeger (2/3, HR, 3 RBI, R), who was responsible for all of the Gators’ runs on Monday.

“I was a little nervous, but this is what I came here for. I was ready,” Ocasio told ESPN after the contest.

Continue Reading » Florida Gators softball escapes Michigan 3-2, wins game one of WCWS Championship Series

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Top 10 plays: Florida Gators softball and baseball flash in 2015 NCAA Tournament

The weekend was a good one for the Florida Gators softball and baseball teams, which each advanced a round in their respective 2015 NCAA Tournament.

No. 1 softball moved on to the 2015 Women’s College World Series Championship Series where it will face No. 5 Michigan – beginning Monday evening – in an effort to defend its 2014 national title. The Gators got there by routing Tennessee 7-2 on Thursday, shutting out LSU 4-0 on Friday and edging Auburn 3-2 in nine innings on Sunday.

No. 4 baseball’s weekend was less dramatic. On the way to winning the Gainesville Regional, Florida routed Florida A&M 19-0 on Friday, pushed passed South Florida 8-2 on Saturday and squeaked out a 2-1 win against Florida Atlantic on Sunday. UF will host Super Regional action this week against the winner of the Tallahassee Regional.

Normally, a highlight or two would come from such an high-pressure weekend. As it turns out, there were more than enough over the last few days to fill a top 10 list. With that in mind, let’s check out the top Gators plays of the weekend.

Continue Reading » Top 10 plays: Florida Gators softball and baseball flash in 2015 NCAA Tournament

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No. 1 Florida Gators softball fights to 4-0 win over No. 5 LSU Tigers in second WCWS game

No. 1 Florida Gators softball took care of business against the only team to hand it two losses this season, taking down the No. 5 LSU Tigers 4-0 in the second game of the 2015 Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City on Friday evening.

Florida (57-6) scored all of its runs off home runs and errors, going 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position while receiving a tremendous effort on the mound by senior right-handed pitcher Lauren Haeger (7.0 IP, 5 H, 4 K) that allowed it to edge LSU (51-13).

Continue Reading » No. 1 Florida Gators softball fights to 4-0 win over No. 5 LSU Tigers in second WCWS game

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2015 Florida softball primer: Can the Gators repeat after the program’s first championship?

By Mike Brandes – OnlyGators.com Contributor

No. 1 Florida Gators softball is poised to defend its crown following a 2014 campaign that saw the team go 55-12 with that last victory resulting in the program’s first National Championship. The Gators have already come out of the gate strong, sweeping the USF Softball Classic and routing Jacksonville on Wednesday, amassing a 6-0 record while outscoring opponents 62-7

Florida was the preseason favorite to with the Southeastern Conference title, having received 11 of 13 first-place votes from the league’s coaches, after failing to win either the regular season or tournament championship a year ago.

Head coach Tim Walton, who is now 498-114 (.813) six games into his 10th season, is confident in his roster. “We’ve got a good group, as deep a group as we’ve had,” he said. Walton no doubt hopes to roll this confidence into a return trip to Oklahoma City and ultimately a second national title in as many seasons.

Continue Reading » 2015 Florida softball primer: Can the Gators repeat after the program’s first championship?

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History is made: Florida Gators softball wins program’s first National Championship

Senior right-handed pitcher Hannah Rogers did not start Tuesday night’s game for the Florida Gators, but her steady hand and tremendous command closed out the final two innings of the Women’s College World Series Championship Series, helping Florida softball (55-12) earn the first National Championship in program history on the back of a 6-3 win over the Alabama Crimson Tide (53-13).

The Gators swept the Crimson Tide in the best-of-three series with Rogers earning a 5-0 shutout win on Monday and finding her well-deserved place on the mound in the final exciting moments on Tuesday.

It was the first time in three WCWS Championship Series appearances that Florida won a single game (0-4 combined in 2009, 2011) yet the Gators were dominant at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Florida outscored its opponents 81-10 in the 2014 NCAA Tournament with eight shutouts and six run-rule victories.

Rogers went 7-0 with a save in eight total appearances, giving up just four earned runs in 44 innings pitched while shutting out her adversaries in 42 of those frames. She was named 2014 WCWS Most Outstanding Player after the game.

Nevertheless, it was junior RHP Lauren Haeger received the call and subsequently got off to a rough start in the circle for UF, giving up back-to-back singles to open the game before a sacrifice fly advanced both base runners.

Continue Reading » History is made: Florida Gators softball wins program’s first National Championship

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Two-run seventh pushes Florida past UAB

No. 2 Florida Gators softball blew two opportunities to put Saturday’s showdown with the UAB Blazers away but came up clutch when it mattered the most, registering two runs in the bottom of the seventh to walk off with a 4-3 win in the first game of the Gainesville Super Regional at Pressly Softball Stadium in Gainesville, FL.

Florida had the bases juiced with no outs in the bottom of the sixth but failed to plate a runner, leaving the game tied 2-2. In the top of the seventh, the Gators dropped a routine pop out that would have ended the frame; shortly thereafter, the Blazers put the go-ahead run on the board, taking a one-run lead heading into the final frame.

Trailing 3-2 entering the bottom of the seventh, Florida quickly loaded the bases again without coughing up an out as sophomore designated player Lauren Haeger (1/3, R, BB) and senior right fielder Kelsey Horton (0/2, RBI, R, BB) drew walks and freshman first baseman Taylor Schwarz (0/3) was hit by a pitch. Sophomore left fielder Briana Little (1/1, RBI, 2 BB) was then plunked in the thigh by UAB hurler Leigh Streetman, tying the game at 3-3 with the bases still loaded for the Gators.

Freshman catcher Taylore Fuller (1/4) struck out looking, putting Florida’s first out on the board, but sophomore shortstop Katie Medina (1/3, RBI) erased concerns about wasting a bases-loaded opportunity for the second-straight inning by smacking a walk-off RBI single to left that pushed the Gators ahead of the Blazers for good.

Florida came back from three separate one-run deficits on Saturday, tying the game in the third and fifth innings before pulling away in the final frame. Junior right-handed pitcher Hannah Rogers (32-5, 7.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R [2 ER], 4 BB, 4 K) was not her best but nevertheless got the job done for the Gators in a complete game outing.

Gainesville Super Regional action will continue on Sunday as Florida (56-7) and UAB (40-18) return to the field at noon for a game set to air nationally on ESPN. Should a third game in the best-of-three series be necessary, it would begin around 3 p.m. on Sunday and also be shown live on ESPN.

One win Sunday would send the Gators back to the Women’s College World Series for the fifth time in school history (all in the last six seasons).

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Castro powers Florida over Tennessee, into finals

An extra-inning solo home run by freshman pinch hitter Bailey Castro on Friday launched No. 7 Florida Gators softball into the finals of the 2012 Southeastern Conference Tournament for the first time since 2009.

Florida (46-10) used Castro’s tie-breaking bomb to take their first and only lead in a 2-1 victory over the No. 5 Tennessee Volunteers (46-10) during semifinal action.

Tennessee jumped ahead 1-0 in the bottom of the first as a fielding error by freshman second baseman Katie Medina (0/2) allowed the Volunteers to plate the first run. The Gators utilized a two-out rally to tie the contest in the third as freshman third baseman Sami Fagan (4/4, R, SB) singled, advanced to second on a passed ball and scored when sophomore shortstop Cheyenne Coyle (1/3, RBI, BB) singled up the middle.

Florida junior right-hander Hannah Rogers (27-6) pitched a gem after allowing an unearned run in her first frame, ending her outing by giving up just four hits and two walks while striking out four in 7.0 innings. After Castro (1/1, HR, RBI, R) knocked her ball out of the park to left center on a 3-2 count, freshman RHP Lauren Haeger came on to close things out and retired Tennessee in order for her second save of the season.

Two-seed UF will face either one-seed Alabama or four-seed Georgia for the SEC Championship on Saturday at 7 p.m. The game will air live nationally on ESPN.

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