No. 2 Florida Gators softball (57-8) is now one loss away from elimination in the Women’s College World Series portion of the 2013 NCAA Tournament after the No. 7 Tennessee Volunteers (50-10) took it to the home team early and often, pulling away for a dominant 9-2 victory in Thursday’s opening-round game.
Florida, which edged Tennessee two games to one during a regular-season series that consisted of three-straight extra-inning affairs, struggled with its pitching in the early going and was never able to recover.
Junior right-handed pitcher Hannah Rogers got the start for the Gators but immediately loaded the bases as she had trouble finding the strike zone. Rogers (0.1 IP, H, 3 ER, 3 BB) walked two and gave up a single to load the bases before walking home the Volunteers’ first run of the game and putting her team in a 1-0 hole.
Florida head coach Tim Walton pulled Rogers for sophomore Lauren Haeger, who gave up a two-run double to Melissa Brown that fronted Tennessee a 3-0 lead.