Softball Team Challenged, Responds

Kim Waleszonia drilled two homers and Stacey Nelson won her 43rd game with a one-hit shutout as the Gator softball team overwhelmed UCF 10-0 to win the elimination game of the NCAA Regional in Gainesville.

The Florida victory came on the heels of a 1-0 UCF win earlier in the day that forced the one game winner-take-all for a spot in next week's Super Regionals.

The Gators (65-3) took command of the showdown contest early with three first inning runs, helped by a pair of UCF (49-20) errors. Waleszonia made it 4-0 with a solo homer in the second and added a three run shot in the fourth. To appreciate how surprising her performance was, Florida entered the game with 58 homers and Waleszonia had just one of them. The Gators added three more runs to make it a six running inning and Florida was up ten. Nelson took care of UCF in the fifth, giving the Gators the win under softball's "eight-run rule".

The Gators entered the weekend a strong favorite to race through the NCAA Regional in Gainesville and advance to the Super Regionals for the second year in a row. After all, Tim Walton's Gators were ranked No. 1 in the entire NCAA field, had won 35 games in a row and were playing at home where they were unbeaten this season. But UCF had other ideas and pushed the Gators to the brink with a victory in the first game of the afternoon.

Last year the Gators advanced to the Super Regionals for the first time in school history but were denied a trip to the College World Series by Texas A&M. This time, Florida will be at home as it tries for yet another "first" in this record-breaking season.

Questions or comments? Contact FightinGators.com's Larry Vettel


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