Gator Softball Advances to 4th Straight CWS

For the fourth consecutive year the Gator Softball team hosted an opponent from the Pac-10 conference in the NCAA Super Regional. For the fourth year in a row it was one, two and adieu as the Gators earned a return trip to the College World Series in Oklahoma City.

The Gators dominated Oregon in Gainesville, winning 9-1 on Friday and following that up with a 7-0 trashing of the Ducks. Freshman Hannah Rogers tossed the shutout, sophomore Brittney Schutte crushed a three-run HR and senior Kelsey Bruder drilled a two-run single to lead the Gators to the win and improve to 52-10 on the year.  

Florida was the "visiting" team in its own ballpark as they took to the field in front of a packed house at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. The Gators managed to scratch out single runs in the second and third innings for an early lead while the Ducks continued to struggle offensively and defensively. Bruder's single made it 4-0 in the 4th and two innings later Schutte tied the school single season record with her 20th HR of the season and Florida was already packing for its trip to the Midwest.  

Rogers ended up with a four-hitter in tossing her 10th shutout of the season and adding to her school freshman record with her 33rd win. Schutte's HR was the 110th of the year for the Gators, breaking the record set just last year.  


Florida launched its fast pitch softball program in 1997 and the four straight bids to the CWS are the only ones in the 15 year history of Gator Softball. The senior class of Bruder, Stephanie Brombacher, Aja Paculba, Megan Bush and Tiffany DeFelice will leave Gainesville knowing that they were part of the first team to make it to Oklahoma City and that they made it every year they wore Orange and Blue.  

To fully appreciate what Tim Walton has done with this program one has to look no further than the record of the past four years. The Gators have won 234 games in that time while losing just 30. That's the kind of absurd win percentage (.887) that we usually only see from the likes of Mary Wise and Roland Thornqvist. Walton's teams have been that dominant.  

This year's team had to fight its way through in a bit of a different way. Florida lost top pitcher Stephanie Brombacher for about a month and at one point the Gators lost 6 straight games. Rogers struggled with the added pressure and responsibility and the Gators fell to 7-6 in SEC play. But Walton and his charges regrouped, and will enter the World Series having won 22-of-25 games.  

Florida has never won it all, having its best finish two years ago when they reached the final series only to lose two straight to Washington. However no matter how they do next week they have set the bar incredibly high for future Gator softball teams. And they've done so with class.

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