The #5 Florida Gators continued to stay red hot as they defeated #1 Oregon 4-0.
Hannah Rogers was absolutely phenomenal on the mound with another complete game shutout to earn her 28th win of the year. Rogers allowed just three hits while striking out five Ducks as she pushed her scoreless innings pitched streak to 32.2 innings. To put Roger's performance into perspective, this is just the SECOND time Oregon has been shutout all year (James Madison shut the Ducks out 3-0 on March 15).
The Gator defense behind her was top notch as they perfectly fielded all 10 ground balls induced by Rogers. They also had two inning ending double plays in the second and sixth innings. No Oregon players even reached second base!
My offensive MVP for this game is junior Bailey Castro. She got the ball rolling in the second inning when she blasted a home run to right center to give the Gators a 1-0 lead. She would strike again in the fourth inning with an RBI single that scored Kirsti Merritt. Castro ended the day going 3/4 with 2 RBI's.
The Gators would tack on two more big runs in the 3rd inning in a pretty unusual way. With runners on first and second and two outs, Briana Little hit a shallow fly ball behind second base. Oregon second baseman Karine Shaver tracked the ball and then lost it in the sun. She lost her footing and was unable to catch the ball. Both Kirsti Merritt and Bailey Castro scored and Little rushed into second base with a double. A four run lead combined with Hannah Rogers's dominant pitching all but sealed Oregon's fate.
The #5 Gators (51-12) will not play again until Sunday at noon. #1 Oregon (54-8-1), now 0-2 against the Gators this year, will head to the loser's bracket and take on the winner of the #6 UL- Lafayette/#7 Oklahoma matchup in an elimination game. The winner of that elimination game will face Alabama and needs to beat them twice to advance.
In the meantime, the Gators are now one win away from playing in the Championship Series for the third time in program history. Florida has been firing on all cylinders since their 2-0 loss to Georgia in the SEC Tournament. They have outscored all their opponents 65-3 and have recorded seven shutouts.
With a chance to play for a National Championship just a single win away, the Gators should be prepared for whoever survives the mayhem known as elimination games. All elimination games can be seen on the ESPN Networks.
*All stats accredited to NCAA.com