Gators, Huskies on Collision Course

When the College World Series brackets were set, the Florida Gators and Washington Huskies were penciled in as the teams to beat in their respective brackets. Two days into the tournament, nothing has happened to change the perception that the Gators and Huskies are headed for a showdown to determine the NCAA Softball Champion.

Both powerhouses posed 1-0 victories on Friday, earning the two top seeds the day off while the other six teams have to play. In a quirk of the bracketing Michigan, which lost to Florida switches over the Washington side of the draw. Meanwhile Arizona State moves into the Gators' bracket after its loss to the Huskies.

Michigan will face the winner of Georgia/Missouri while Arizona State takes on either Arizona or Alabama. Whoever wins those games will have to win twice on Sunday to keep the Gators or Huskies from advancing to best two-of-three finals Monday, Tuesday and (if necessary) Wednesday.

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Considering the level of competition it is truly amazing what Gator senior Stacey Nelson has done in the circle. After allowing singles to the first two Arizona hitters Thursday night, Nelson has allowed just one singe, no runs and has struck out 21 batters. She's now 41`-3 on the year with 22 shutouts.

Florida's offense has done just enough to get the wins. Francesca Enea's two-run homer gave Nelson all the runs she would need in game one while Megan Bush added a solo shot for insurance. Then on Friday it was Bush smashing her 16th homer of the year for the game's only run.

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Washington has been almost as dominant behind All-American Danielle Lawrie. The Huskies' ace did allow a run to Georgia in a 3-1 win Thursday and then shutout Arizona State for eight innings on Friday. With those wins Lawrie is now 39-7 with a 1.06 ERA on the year. That's impressive, unless you compare it to the numbers of Stacey Nelson (41-3, 0.39).

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Florida is scheduled to play at 3:00 on Sunday and, if necessary again at 9:00. Let's hope it's not necessary, since neither of Florida's first two 9:00 games started before 10:00.

Washington will play at 1:00 and then again at 7:00 if need be. Wouldn't it make sense to give the Eastern time zone team the earlier starts?


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