Gators coach Tim Walton urged his team to stay positive, reminding the players that Monday’s 14-4 loss to Arizona State was the first game of the Women’s College World Series.
“It’s a series, not a game, so we’ve still got a chance,’’ Walton said.
The loss was UF’s worst defeat since losing 16-3 in the 2010 WCWS to UCLA and featured some controversy early when TV replays showed Gators catcher Tiffany DeFelice was hit by a pitch. However, home plate umpire Chris Drumm saw it differently, temporarily frustrating the Gators in their first at-bat.
The game quickly got away from the Gators.
Arizona State hit four home runs Monday and seized the emotional advantage early to beat the Gators for the second time in four days. The Sun Devils can clinch the national championship with a victory tonight, or if the Gators win, Game 3 will take place on Wednesday night in the best-of-three series.
“We have to shake this off. The good thing is we had to shake off a loss a couple of days ago,’’ said Walton, referring to Friday night’s 6-5 loss to Arizona State in which the Gators overcame a 4-0 deficit. “So, we have to go out and do that again.’’
Florida center fielder Michelle Moultrie continued her torrid postseason, tying a WCWS record with her fourth home run. She hit two during the regular season.
She left ASA Hall of Fame Stadium late Monday confident the Gators will play better Tuesday.
“We just have to stay position and get our minds right, but I think we’ll be fine,’’ Moultrie said.
DeFelice, noticeably upset early in the first inning when Dallas Escobedo’s pitch hit her and Drumm ruled differently, had calmed down by the end of the loss.
The Sun Devils thoroughly outplayed the Gators in Game 1, and now Florida’s season is on the line.
“I’m probably going to be upset about it the next couple of hours,’’ DeFelice said. “When I go to sleep, all I’m going to be thinking about is [Tuesday] and Game 2, and taking Game 2 and making them play Game 3.’’