Gators show up big in Game 1

The Florida Gators rolled into Oklahoma City on day one of the Women’s College World Series as the number one seed and played like it in their first game. Taking a 7-2 decision from SEC rival Tennessee (47-16), the Gators (56-6) will now play the winner of the LSU / Auburn game tomorrow at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.

The star of the game was none other than National Player of the Year Lauren Haeger. Haeger is the only college softball player in the history of the sport to boast more than 60 wins as a pitcher and 60 home runs. The dual threat bombed a home run on her first at bat, got on base four times and scored a second time, while also pitching a complete game. She now stands at 70 wins and 69 home runs in her career.

The only real down side of Haeger’s game was a single hit which was a two-run home run by Lady Vols sophomore Megan Geer. They were the first points allowed in six games by the Gators in this year’s NCAA tournament.

With Haeger helping herself out on the base paths and at the plate, she also got help from first baseman Kayli Kvistad who smashed the ball deep into left center for a home run in the third to give the Gators a temporary 3-0 lead.

After the Vols scored their two in the fourth, Florida used their base stealing ability and a quartet of errors by Tennessee to plate four more runs from the fourth to the sixth inning.

Florida did strand nine base runners in the first four innings, something that head coach Tim Walton wasn’t too fond of. The Gators haven’t manufactured a ton of runs this year and they had an opportunity to put this one away a little earlier.

The Gators are now 18-11 all-time at the WCWS and 65-32 in the NCAA tournament. Walton was the head coach for all of the WCWS games and he is 60-20 in NCAA Tournament play since his arrival at Florida. Florida is also 24-2 since April 1 with 15 wins over ranked teams.


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