Gators Drop Opener at WCWS

For Gator softball coach Tim Walton, it was take one game at a time in Oklahoma City at Florida's first Women's College World Series appearance. Now, Florida faces elimination after dropping the first game against Louisiana-Lafayette.

The Gators scored first in the bottom half of the second inning. Designated player Tiffany DeFelice led off the inning with a single to centerfield. Then with two outs, third baseman Corrie Brooks doubled down the leftfield line. Louisiana-Lafayette leftfielder Katie Smith bobbled the ball in the corner allowing DeFelice to score from first base.

Florida tacked on another run in the fourth with another two-out double. Catcher Kristina Hilberth beat out an infield hit to start the inning, but was replaced on the basepaths by Brooks who grounded into a fielder's choice for the first out of the inning. Second baseman Aja Paculba doubled down the leftfield line, scoring Brooks from second. Florida led 2-0.

Meanwhile, Stacey Nelson was cruising along. She faced the minimum through 2.2 innings before giving up her first hit in the top of the third. She worked through trouble in the fourth after giving up a leadoff hit followed by a throwing error by Brooks on a throw to second. But Nelson forced two straight infield groundouts and a flyout to left to work out of the jam.

Nelson wasn't so fortunate in the top of the fifth. She allowed two infield hits and the Ragin' Cajuns had first and second with two outs. UL-Lafayette second baseman Vanessa Soto then doubled to center knocking in two runs and tying the score at 2-2.

Neither side could score before the end of the seventh, forcing the game into extra innings. The Cajuns took a 3-2 lead in the top of the eighth on a pair of hits before Walton lifted his ace from the game.

In the bottom of the eighth, DeFelice led off the inning with an amazing 20-pitch at bat, but Cajun pitcher Ashley Brignac won the battle getting DeFelice to fly out to centerfield. Bush followed with a pop-up for the second out. Kristine Priebe pinch hit for Hilberth, but she was retired as well by Brignac. The freshman pitcher for Louisiana-Lafayette struck out 15 Gators for the win.

Questions or comments? Contact's Chris Chmielenski

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