Gator Softball Team Faces Bruins Big Bats

The Gator softball team has made a living hitting home runs this season, and Thursday afternoon at the College World Series, they will face a team that has done pretty much the same thing.

Florida takes on UCLA at 3:30 in their first game of the CWS in Oklahoma City, Okla. The Bruins bring a 45-11 record into the event, and they have been playing very well lately, winning 16 of 18 games. It's interesting to note that the late season surge followed a three game sweep at the hands of Arizona State. Florida just eliminated ASU in two games at the Super Regional in Gainesville.

UCLA is led by Megan Langenfield (.500, 16, 49) who is having a phenomenal season. She not only leads or is tied for the team lead in most offensive categories, she's also walked 40 times and been hit by 10 pitches giving her an unheard of on-base percentage of .650. She is also one of three pitchers (11-1, 1.25) Florida could see during the contest.

Other key hitters for the Bruins include GiOnna DiSalvatore (.397, 10, 50), Andrea Harrison (.350, 13, 44), Samantha Camuso (.321, 13, 46) and Julie Burney (.309, 16, 44).

UCLA's top pitcher most of the season has been Donna Kerr (18-7, 2.37) but lately the Bruins have turned more and more to Langenfeld and Aleah Macon (11-1, 0.86). If Kerr gets the start chances are pretty good that at least one of the others will get into the contest.

UCLA has a team batting average of .333 and they score 6.7 runs a game with 94 HR. Florida, by comparison, is just slight better in each category -- .335, 7.6 runs, 105 HR. Pitching-wise UCLA's ERA (1.87) is slightly better than the Gators' 2.03, but Stephanie Brombacher (34-6, 1.89) has had a better year than anyone in the UCLA trio. UCLA has given up more HR (25-to-18), but Bruins pitchers also have more strikeouts and fewer walks.

Defensively the Bruins have committed 44 errors, one more than the Gators.

The biggest difference between these teams is on the base paths. Florida has stolen 77 bases while UCLA hardly ever runs (26 SB). Neither team has allowed many steals.

Other than Arizona State the teams have three other common opponents. UCLA ripped Tennessee 11-1 in February while the Gators split two games with the Vols. Florida lost to Stanford 2-0 while UCLA swept the Cardinal in three games. UCLA beat Loyola-Marymount 8-2 and 5-0 while the Gators ripped that team 13-1.

Oddly, UCLA beat Georgia 3-2 but the Gators didn't play Georgia this year because their scheduled doubleheader was rained out.

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This is the third straight CWS for Tim Walton's Gators who are an incredible 181-18 in those three seasons. Florida beat UCLA 2-0 in the 2008 CWS and was eliminated one game shy of the finals by Texas A&M. Last year the Gators reached the finals only to lose two straight to Washington.

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Sophomore centerfielder Michelle Moultrie entered the Super Regional with a .410 batting average, which would be the best season in school history. However an 0-for-4 performance in the last game dropped her to .403 and she'll need an excellent CWS to reclaim the mark currently held Ali Gardiner (.407). A 4-for-8 performance would do the trick.

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Senior leftfielder Francesca Enea is still leading the Gators with 20 HR and 65 RBI and is Florida's all-time leader in both categories. However it has been a tough post-season for Enea who enters the CWS 0-for-20 since the end of the regular season. Despite her struggles, the Gators are 6-1 in those seven games.

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If Florida beats UCLA the Gators will face the winner of the game between Missouri and Hawaii Friday night at 7:00. If UCLA wins the Gators will play a loser's out game against The Missouri/Hawaii lose at noon Saturday.


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