Softball Ends Regular Season on a Roll

The Gator softball team will take an 18-game winning streak into post-season play after sweeping Longwood in Gainesville this weekend. Florida ends the regular season with a 52-3 record, the SEC Champs and No. 1 ranked team in the nation. Florida will open play in the SEC Tournament in Knoxville with the Thursday game against Auburn. The SEC Tournament is an eight-team single elimination event.

Florida wrapped up the season with a surprisingly difficult 3-1 win on Sunday afternoon. The Gators had dominated this team on Saturday, winning two games by a combined 17-0, but an unearned run gave Longwood an early lead and the Gators had to scratch their way to the win.

One of the interesting things on Sunday was the battle between Longwood pitcher Briana Wells and Florida right fielder Kelsey Bruder. Wells drilled Bruder in her first at bat in the second inning and nailed her again the next time, with the Florida sophomore obviously agitated. Then in the sixth inning Bruder ripped a line drive over the right field fence for her 14th HR of the season and yelled at Wells as she ran between first and second base.

Florida Coach Tim Walton added a touch of class to the afternoon taking out seniors Stacey Nelson (pitcher), Ali Gardiner (1B) and Kristina Hilberth (catcher) and letting them take a bow before the final out was recorded. Nelson ended up with her 32nd win of the year while sophomore Stephanie Brombacher registered a game ending strikeout for the save.

Over the last two years the Gators are now 112-8. It is virtually certain the Gators will get to host an NCAA Regional and (if they advance) Super Regional as they try to return to the College World Series.

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