Florida softball rebounds to eliminate Alabama, move to Women’s College World Series semifinal

By OnlyGators.com Staff
June 2, 2024
Florida softball rebounds to eliminate Alabama, move to Women’s College World Series semifinal

Image Credit: UAA

A back-and-forth, weather-delayed affair ended with the No. 4-seed Florida Gators on top of an all-SEC battle Sunday night. On the back of a three-run homer in the top of the sixth, Florida prevailed 6-4 over the No. 14-seed Alabama Crimson Tide, eliminating their foes from the 2024 Women’s College World Series while advancing to the semifinal round for the first time since 2017.

The Gators, which were embarrassed Saturday falling 10-0 in a one-hit effort against the No. 1-seed Texas Longhorns, rebounded in tremendous fashion breaking through by scoring runs that it failed to acquire over its first 12 innings in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Though Florida trailed 1-0 entering the top of the third, sophomore catcher Jocelyn Erickson broke open the scoring with a one-out RBI single to even the game. She also slugged the game-deciding homer in the sixth, connecting deep to center field with two outs, which gave freshman right-handed pitcher Keagan Rothrock a four-run cushion over the final six outs.

“She’s calming. She’s one of the most calming people on the team, especially in games,” Rothrock said of Erickson. “In the higher-pressure situations, having somebody like her back there [on defense], she calms me a lot. And then, to watch her go out there and do her thing at the plate, it’s amazing. She’s awesome.”

Though Rothrock (32-8) allowed two runs in the ensuing frame, she retired the side in the seventh and finished a complete game with seven hits, three earned runs, one walk and five strikeouts. Junior designated player Reagan Walsh contributed the Gators’ other runs with a fielder’s choice following Erickson’s single in the third and an RBI single in the fifth.

Florida will face No. 2-seed Oklahoma on Monday at noon ET in a win-or-go-home game for the Gators due to their prior loss to the Longhorns. Should UF prevail against OU, the teams will play an elimination game immediately following the first contest.

The Gators are competing in the WCWS for the 12th time, the sixth-most appearances in college softball history. They are seeking to play in the WCWS Championship Series for the first time since 2017 while efforting towards their first national championship since 2015.

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