Friday, June 1, 2018

2018 WCWS: No. 2 Florida Run-Rules No. 7 Georgia in Opener

In the first round of the Women's College World Series, the No. 2 Florida Gators (56-9) nabbed their second victory of the season over the No. 7 Georgia Bulldogs (48-12) by a romping score of 11-3.

Senior right-hander Aleshia Ocasio (23-7, 1.44 ERA) got the nod on the mound and ran into trouble early. The Dawgs tagged her for two runs in the top of the first inning and then tacked on an additional run in the third inning.

Fortunately for Ocasio, these early struggles would not matter as Gator offense lit up the scoreboard. In a brisk five-inning outing, she would finish with a stat line of three earned runs on seven hits, one walk, and seven strikeouts.

The Gator offense nearly beat their entire run output during super regionals (12) as they put up 11 on the Dawgs tonight! Florida climbed out of their early 2-0 deficit with a five-run first inning, added one more run in the second, put up two in the fourth, and then pushed across three in the final frame for the WCWS mercy rule win.

Gator Dingers
The Gators may have only had seven hits, but three of them were home runs! Aleshia Ocasio made up for her pitching miscues with a three-run bomb out to right field in the bottom of the first inning to make it 5-2 Florida. In the fourth inning, sophomore designated player Jordan Roberts hit a pinch-hit two-run home run to center field to push the lead to 8-3. In the game's final frame, freshman second baseman Hannah Adams led off the fifth inning with a solo shot to right field to push the margin to 9-3 Florida.

Offensive Performers
Hannah Adams was the lone Gator with multiple hits as she went 2-3 with her solo home run and a run scored. The remaining Gators with base hits were senior third baseman Nicole Dewitt (1-3 with two runs scored), junior first baseman Kayli Kvistad (1-1 with a run scored, an RBI, and two walks), and Jordan Matthews (1-2 with a double and two RBI's).

In addition, junior left fielder Amanda Lorenz, senior catcher Janell Wheaton, redshirt sophomore shortstop Sophia Reynoso, and sophomore right fielder Jaimie Hoover all scored a run without registering a base knock.

Wheaton had the game-winning at-bat as her hit-by-pitch with the bases loaded brought home the final run needed to mercy Georgia by eight. Both Lorenz and Kvistad also had half of the team's eight walks with two a piece.

The lone error came from Georgia as freshman first baseman Alysen Febrey misplayed a grounder off the bat of Nicole Dewitt in the bottom of the first inning. This would come back to hurt the Bulldogs as super regional hero Jordan Matthews tied the game up with a double three batters later.

Final Takeaway
After dropping the regular season series in Athens, the No. 2 Florida Gators (56-9) got revenge in the best way possible with a convincing victory over the No. 7 Georgia Bulldogs (48-12) in the Women's College World Series. Before previewing their second round matchup against the No. 3 UCLA Bruins (57-5), here are some final tidbits from Florida's victory over the Bulldogs:

  • The Gators are now 40-27 all-time against Georgia.
  • The Gators are now 26-14 all-time in the Women's College World Series.
  • The Gators are now 6-3 all-time in the first round of the WCWS.
  • This is the third time in program history that the Gators have run-ruled their opponent in the first round (11-0 over Baylor in 2014, 8-0 over Texas A&M in 2017).
  • The Gators have now won four consecutive first round games in the WCWS.
  • Florida's 11 runs equates the most runs they have ever scored in the opening round of the WCWS.

Advancing into the winner's bracket, the Florida Gators will now turn their attention to the UCLA Bruins. The Gators are 1-1 against the Bruins in the WCWS and have not them played them since the 2017 regular season. Junior right-hander Kelly Barnhill (29-1, 1.06 ERA) will probably get the start for Florida and UCLA will most likely counter with sophomore right-hander Rachel Garcia (23-9, 1.87 ERA). The game is set for 9:30 p.m. ET and can be seen on ESPN.

As for Georgia, they will fight to keep their season alive in an elimination game against the No. 6 Florida State Seminoles (52-12). Game time for this matchup is set for 2:30 p.m. ET on June 2 and it can be seen on ESPN as well.



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