Game one of the Women’s College World Series Championship Series is in the books, as top-seeded Arizona State (59-6) defeated the fourth-seeded University of Florida softball team (56-12), 14-4, Monday at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium. The Gators will look to stay alive in the best-of-three championship series with game two set for 8 p.m. (ET) Tuesday.
Senior Kelsey Bruder (Corona, Calif.), freshman Cheyenne Coyle (West Hills, Calif.) and junior Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) each launched homers Monday, bringing Florida’s season total to 124. Bruder struck in the top of the sixth, while Coyle and Moultrie connected in the seventh for Florida’s four runs of the contest, marking the Gators’ 12th, 13th and 14th homers in Oklahoma City. Bruder and Coyle each sent their second long balls of the WCWS as Bruder hit her 19th of the season and Coyle knocked her 17th in 2011.
Moultrie’s four home runs in the past five days ties a record for most in WCWS, as the Gator center fielder had just two entering the NCAA Tournament finale. Between ASU’s four long balls and UF’s three Monday evening, the seven homers tied a WCWS single-game record. Arizona State scored early and often, while also using timely hitting, scoring 11 of 14 runs with two outs to put game one away quickly.
Senior Tiffany DeFelice (Coral Springs, Fla.) and sophomore Brittany Schutte (Fountain Valley, Calif.) combined for Florida’s other two hits.
Monday night’s game served as the NCAA and NFCA’s annual StrikeOut Cancer event, and with a crowd of 7,447 in attendance for the first game of the three-game championship series, $7,447, $1 per person in attendance, will be donated to the American Cancer Society by the NCAA.
Freshman Hannah Rogers (Lake Wales, Fla.) and senior Stephanie Brombacher (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) split time in the circle for the Gators, Rogers working the first 2.1 and Brombacher coming on in relief for the final 3.2. Rogers was charged with the loss, moving to 36-8 on the season after giving up nine initial earned runs. Freshman Dallas Escobedo worked a complete-game effort, fanning seven and walking five.
Arizona State punched in a single run in the first after a Kaylyn Castillo base hit to center field. A miscue by Moultrie allowed Lesley Rogers to cross home after drawing a one-out walk to get on base. Rogers forced a groundout and a fielder’s choice to retire the side without further runs.
The Gators threatened in the top of the first inning, getting a lead-off walk from Moultrie and a single from Schutte. Florida had runners on second and third but were unable to build an early lead or capitalize.
After a hitless, scoreless second for the Gators, the Sun Devils strung together a two-out rally, putting up six runs on four hits to carry a 7-0 advantage into the third inning. Rogers walked two in the frame after giving up a one-out double to Alix Johnson before fanning the nine-spot hitter Talor Haro swinging. UF opted to intentionally walk leadoff hitter Katelyn Boyd, but Lesley Rogers followed by drawing walk to load the bags. Arizona State capitalized on three straight RBI hits, including a two RBI single to left field for Castillo, a RBI single down the right-field line by Annie Lockwood and a three-run shot to left center from Krista Donnenwirth that gave the Sun Devils a seven-run lead.
Arizona State continued to pour it on after three straight hits to lead off the third inning loaded the bags. A groundout brought ASU’s eighth run across home and Lesley Rogers connected for a RBI single to plate run number nine before the Orange and Blue made a change in the circle to Brombacher. Castillo sent a sac fly to left field for the third and final run of the frame before senior Tiffany DeFelice (Coral Springs, Fla.) snagged a foul ball to halt ASU’s third-inning scoring at three runs as the Sun Devils extended their lead, 10-0.
Freshman Cheyenne Coyle (West Hills, Calif.) drew a one-out walk after a senior Megan Bush (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) fly out to kick off the fourth, but ASU’s defense turned an inning-ending double play to bring up the bottom of the fourth. Arizona Stat’s Sam Parlich knocked a two-out solo shot to left field in the bottom of the frame as ASU took the 11-0 lead.
Two homers, a two-run shot from Annie Lockwood and a solo long ball from Donnenwirth, her second of the game, added three runs for the Sun Devils with two outs in the bottom of the fifth, turning it over to Florida in the top of the sixth where Bruder rallied to put up UF’s first run on a solo homer to center field.
Florida forced a zero on the board for ASU in the bottom of the sixth, the only inning the Sun Devils didn’t score, and proceeded to put together a two out rally following Coyle leadoff bomb to left field. Two consecutive strikeouts for senior Aja Paculba (Wildomar, Calif.) and sophomore Kelsey Horton (Valrico, Fla.) didn’t stop UF’s fight back as freshman Kasey Fagan (Dunnellon, Fla.) drew a walk to turn the Gator lineup over. Moultrie then jacked her fourth homer of the WCWS, just her sixth of the season, to narrow the margin to the final, 14-4.
Arizona State’s 14 runs were the most allowed since last year’s WCWS when UCLA defeated UF, 16-3, in the opening round in Oklahoma City. The 10-run margin of defeat marks the fourth-largest in Florida’s program history.
The Gators will look to stay alive Tuesday evening in Championship Game 2. First pitch between the Gators and Sun Devils is slated for 8 p.m. (ET). Gator fans can catch all the action on ESPN2, live on the radio locally in Gainesville by tuning into Adam Schick and Kristina Hilberth on 105 ‘The Game’ or following @GatorZoneNews and @GatorZoneSBall for in-game updates.