Softball Brings Home SEC Title

The Gator softball team's remarkable season continued this weekend with a three-game sweep of Tennessee, clinching the SEC Championship for the Orange and Blue. Florida's 5-3 win on Sunday finished off a tough, competitive weekend in Knoxville and earned the fifth SEC title of the year for the Florida Gator program.

Stacey Nelson struggled at bit in the circle, at least by her standards but still managed to pick up her 38th victory of the season. Ali Gardiner continued on her pace to set a single season batting record by going 2-for-4 to raise her average to .415 and drove in a pair of runs to help the Gators to the win.

Florida finished the regular season with a mind-boggling 59-2 record with an equally amazing 27-1 mark in SEC play. The Gators will be the No. 1 seed at next week's SEC Tournament and will certainly be hosting an NCAA Regional the following weekend.

As mentioned it's the fifth SEC title for UF this sports year, and ALL five have been won by women's teams. The softball team joins Gator women's teams in volleyball, soccer, golf, and tennis in bringing home SEC trophies.

Going Back to March 12th

It certainly didn't seem like that big of a deal when the Gators faced Alabama in Tuscaloosa a month and a half ago. Florida entered the doubleheader with the Crimson Tide with a 3-0 record in the SEC while the Tide was 2-1.

Alabama took game one by a 1-0 score, but Florida denied the Tide a sweep by taking the nightcap 8-4. Florida's lone senior Mary Ratliffe drilled a game-winning grand slam in the seventh and final inning to earn a split of the twin-bill. Still, it didn't seem like a big deal. But it was.

Neither Florida nor Alabama has lost a game since that day. The Gators won 30 more games in successions after that afternoon, and they needed every one of those wins to stave off the Tide and win the SEC. In fact the difference in this race came down to Alabama losing a game to Tennessee while the Gators were able to sweep the Vols. It was a demanding race as ‘Bama never let up in its pursuit of the front-running Gators. But to their credit, the Gators never let up. They never backed down. They never gave in. That's why the Gator Softball team is celebrating an SEC Championship.

Questions or comments? Contact's Larry Vettel

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