The #5 Florida Gators are one step closer to their first ever softball National Championship as they routed the #13 Baylor Bears 11-0 in five innings.
Hannah Rogers toed the rubber for the orange and blue and the senior did not disappoint as she threw a complete game shut out to notch her 27th win of the season. She struck out three batters and gave up just three hits. By the way Rogers was pitching today, she would have been fine if the team had just given her one run to work with. Fortunately for her, the Gators like to score runs and try their best to cut her outings to just five innings.
Offensively, the Gators brought it today as they dropped 11 runs on Baylor today. The Gators jumped on Baylor early by scoring three runs in the bottom of the first inning and just added on from there. Eight Gators had at least one hit with sophomore Kirsti Merritt leading the way with two.
In the fifth inning, the Gators went in for the kill as they upped the lead to 7-0 with the bases loaded and no one out. Freshman Chelsea Herndon's number was called to pinch hit and she strode to the plate with a chance to end the game. Her first hit in the Women's College World Series was one to remember as she drove a 1-2 pitch over the center field wall for a walk off grand slam for the mercy rule victory.
Now in the winner's bracket, the #5 Gators (50-12) will turn their attention to the #1 Oregon Ducks (54-7-1). The Ducks defeated the #8 Florida State Seminoles 3-0 to set up this date with the Gators. Both teams met earlier this season in Orlando, Florida, with the Gators winning 2-1 in eight innings. Oregon head coach, Mike White, will likely remind his team of this close loss and I expect the Ducks to throw all they can at the Gators to avoid playing in an elimination game. The game is on May 30 at 7 p.m. and can be seen on ESPN2.
With their backs against the wall, #13 Baylor (47-15) and #8 Florida State (55-8) will play to survive in their elimination game at 12 p.m. on May 31. This game will be televised on ESPN and whoever wins will have the pleasure of playing a second game at 7 p.m. against the loser of the Florida/Oregon game. Could we get a Florida/Florida State elimination game? Might Oregon and Baylor be dueling to stay alive? Or might we get rematches between Florida and Baylor or Oregon and Florida State? We will just have to wait and see.
*Stats and information accredited to Gatorzone.com