Gators Power Their Way To CWS

Stephanie Brombacher was again dominant in the circle and the Gators slammed three homers to power the Gators past Arizona State 5-2 to win the NCAA Softball Super Regional in Gainesville. The Gators advance to the College World Series for the third year in a row and will try to take one more step in that event after finishing as the runner up in 2009.

Gator coach Tim Walton couldn't help but smile as Brombacher dominated Arizona State hitters for the second consecutive day. In fact, if not for illegal pitch calls and a throwing error the Sun Devils would have left Gainesville scoreless.

Florida (48-8), playing as the visiting team in its own ballpark had a chance to score in the top of the second inning with two out and one on when Tiffany DeFelice doubled down the left field line. Megan Bush was held at third base on the play and both were left stranded when shortstop Brittany Walker grounded out to end the threat.

Next time up Florida took the lead. Aja Paculba had a tremendous at bat fouling off seven pitches with two strikes on her before singling up the middle. Kelsey Bruder followed with a high fly ball that just barely cleared the centerfield fence to give the Gators a 2-0 lead.

Arizona State had a bit of a scoring chance in the bottom of the inning when an illegal pitch call against Brombacher negated a superb defensive play by Paculba. A pitch later Sam Parlich walked. After a force out, ASU's top hitter Katelyn Boyd (.411, 15 HR) slapped an infield single on the left side to put runners on first and second. Brombacher ended the Sun Devils' hopes of scoring by retiring their next best hitter Lesley Rogers (.388) on a harmless foul fly to left field. It was the eighth consecutive scoreless inning for Brombacher in the Super Regional.

The failure to score was magnified when Megan Bush blasted the first pitch of the fourth inning well over the centerfield fence to put the Gators up three. ASU got a runner to scoring position again in the fourth, but Brombacher handled a slow roller to keep the Sun Devils scoreless.

Bruder picked up her second homer of the day and 15th of the season with a lined shot just to the left of straight away centerfield with one out in the fifth inning. When Bruder's shot left the field, the Gators had five HR in the Super Regional while Arizona State had six hits.

Arizona State didn't want to go quietly and put another runner in scoring position in the sixth inning on a double by catcher Katelyn Castillo. After a ground out the fifth illegal pitch call against Brombacher finally put Arizona State on the scoreboard making it 4-1 heading into the seventh and final inning.

Any momentum ASU got from that run didn't last very long. Brittany Walker led off the seventh with a triple to right centerfield. Two hard hit outs failed to score Walker and the Sun Devils chose to walk the hot hitting Bruder in favor of pitching to Francesca Enea who was mired in an 0-for-19 slump. Enea took a 2-2 pitch with Bruder breaking from first base. ASU tried to fool Walker with a hard throw to the pitcher but Megan Elliott ducked, the ball went through and the Gators executed the double steal for a 5-1 advantage. Enea couldn't break her slump and grounded out to end the inning, but Florida had its four run lead again.

Arizona State got a one out single from Caylyn Carlson in the bottom of the seventh and Brombacher made a poor throw on a come backer to put two runners on. A shallow fly to center field made it two out to bring up Boyd one more time. This time the Sun Devil's best hitter singled through the middle to load the bases and bring the tying run to the plate. Lesley Rogers singled off Brombacher's glove to make it 5-2 and bring the potential winning run to the plate.

Castillo, who doubled in her previous at bat with a chance to win it with a long ball but Brombacher got her to pop up to walker at short and the Gators finally could celebrate.


The College World Series features three teams from the SEC and (probably) three more from the Pac-10. Interestingly they will all go head to head in their first games in Oklahoma City while "outsiders" Missouri and Hawaii round out the field.


Florida's half of the College World Series draw will feature the No. 4 Gators, No. 5 UCLA (assuming the Bruins don't lose two straight to Louisiana-Lafayette Sunday night), No. 9 Missouri and No. 16 Hawaii. Hawaii pulled a shocked, beating top seed Alabama in Tuscaloosa. The Gators will play UCLA while Missouri and Hawaii go at it in Friday's first round of play.

The other bracket begins play on Thursday with No. 6 Georgia facing the defending NCAA Champ and third ranked Washington. No. 15 Tennessee, which stunned No.2 Michigan, will take on No. 10 Arizona.

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