Friday May 30, 2014Florida Shuts Out Oregon to Earn WCWS Semifinal Berth
Bailey Castro's second-inning home run opened the scoring for Florida.
The University of Florida softball team defeated No. 1 seed Oregon, 4-0, on Friday at the Women’s College World Series. The Gators shut out their third straight opponent dating back to Sunday’s regional final victory over Washington, and senior right-hander Hannah Rogers held the Ducks to a season-low three hits.
Kelsey Stewart was hit by the second pitch of the game, but she was stranded at first. Rogers struck out Oregon’s leadoff batter in the bottom of the first on her way to a 1-2-3 inning. Bailey Castro put the Gators (52-12) ahead with a home run to center field to lead off the second, and the Gators’ defense turned an inning-ending double play in the home half following a one-out single by the Ducks (55-8-1).
Florida had two baserunners to start the third when Stewart singled up the middle and Kirsti Merritt walked. Castro produced again when she laced a two-out base hit to left to score Stewart, pushing the Florida lead to 2-0. Briana Little followed with a bloop to shallow right that the Oregon second baseman lost in the sun, resulting in an RBI double that plated Merritt and Castro.
Staked to a 4-0 lead, Rogers (28-8) allowed a two-out single in the third before ending the inning with a strikeout. Kathlyn Medina walked to start the fourth, and Stewart and Merritt followed with singles to load the bases for Lauren Haeger. The junior reached on a fielder’s choice, but Kathlyn Medina was forced out at home on the play before a flyout by Stephanie Tofft ended the inning. Rogers set down the Ducks in order in the bottom of the fourth.
Castro had a leadoff single to start the fifth, but she was left at first. Rogers allowed a two-out walk in the bottom of the frame before stranding the runner. Merritt laced a two-out single through the right side in the sixth, but she was unable to advance. Oregon’s leadoff hitter had a bunt single with one out in the sixth, but Florida’s senior hurler caught a comebacker to start an inning-ending double play.
Florida was retired in order in the top of the seventh before Rogers set the Ducks down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the inning to secure a berth in the WCWS semifinals.
· With the win, Florida is 2-0 in its first two games at the WCWS for the second time in six appearances; the last time the Gators won their first two WCWS contests (2009), they advanced to the championship series.
· The Gators’ win guarantees that the SEC will have two teams in the winners’ bracket on Sunday. The last time one conference had two teams start the WCWS with two wins was 2004 (Pac-10: UCLA and California).
· UF has shut out seven of eight opponents in the NCAA Tournament, and outscored foes by a combined margin of 64-4 during that span.
· Rogers pitched her fifth consecutive shutout.
· The senior has not allowed a run in 28.0 innings pitched during the NCAA Tournament.
· Castro extended her career-best home run total to eight for the season.
· The junior slugged the first homer of her NCAA Tournament career (18 games).
· The outfielder logged her second straight multi-RBI game (2 RBI Thursday vs. Baylor), and her third of this NCAA Tournament (also: May 24 vs. Washington).
· Little recorded her eighth multi-RBI game of the season and her first since May 3 at Arkansas.
· Stewart has a hit in all eight games of this NCAA Tournament.
· The infielder posted her sixth multi-hit game of the tournament.
· Oregon’s three hits were its fewest in a game this season (previous: four, Feb. 14 vs. UNLV).
FOLLOW THE GATORS
At noon CT (1 p.m. ET) on Sunday, the Gators will face the winner of Saturday’s 6 p.m. CT game which could include Baylor or Florida State and Kentucky on ESPN. If the Gators lose that game, a rematch would be played at 6 p.m. CT (7 p.m. ET) on Sunday on ESPNU. WGGG (1230-AM) will have the radio broadcast, with Adam Schick and former Gator All-American Megan Bush as the announce team. In addition, live stats will be available through Gametracker on the schedule page on GatorZone.com.