FINAL: Florida 9, South Alabama 1

FINAL: Florida 9, South Alabama 1
FINAL: Florida 9, South Alabama 1
NCAA TOURNAMENT / GAINESVILLE REGIONAL

FLORIDA 9, SOUTH ALABAMA 1

WHAT HAPPENED: Florida sophomore catcher Jocelyn Erickson had three RBI, including a two-run homer in the first inning, and the fourth-seeded Gators used a seven-run third when they sent 12 batters to the plate to set in motion 9-1 run-rule defeat of South Alabama in Sunday’s championship round of the NCAA Tournament’s Gainesville Regional. The victory was UF’s 11th straight and locked the Gators into a home Super Regional next weekend when a berth in the Women’s College World Series will be on the line. Junior left fielder Korbe Otis scored twice and had two hits in the third, while fifth-year senior shortstop Skylar Wallace extended his hitting streak to 11 games and knocked in his 14th RBI of the postseason. Freshman Keagan Rothrockdominant in the regional’s first two victories, threw two shutout innings before giving way to classmate Ava Brown with a 9-0 lead to start the third. Florida took a 2-0 advantage off USA starter Tori Miller in the first when Otis, the second batter of the game, walked. The next hitter, Wallacesent a ball to deep center field and was robbed of an extra-base hit by Mackenzie Brasher’s leaping catch at the wall. The Jaguars’ outfield could do nothing about the next batter, Erikson, the 2024 SEC Player of the Year, blasted his 13th home run of the season, a no-doubt two-run shot to right. The Gators blew it open in their third with six hits, two walks and a hit-by-pitch in scoring seven runs while facing three different pitchers. Erickson’s second hit of the game, a long single off the right-field wall with two runners on, netted his third RBI of the game. Reagan Walsh’s line-drive double off the glove of left fielder Bailey Welch made it 4-0. After Miller was lifted for Madison Laglethe Gators got five more runs on a two-run single by Ava Brown, a two-run single by Otis and RBI double by Wallace to go ahead 9-0. USA plated its lone run off Brown in the fourth, but needed one more to extend the game. Brown (16-5) closed things out with a 1-2-3 fifth.

The Gators surround Jocelyn Erickson (8) after his first-inning two-run homer.

[Photo by Molly Kaiser]


PLAY OF THE GAME: Erickson’s first-inning homer was the perfect tone-setter. The Oklahoma transfer now has 78 RBI on the season, which is two behind Megan Bush’s program record of 80 in 2011.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: The Gators, in general, who are playing their best softball of the season (and of several seasons) at a very good time.

STAGGERING STATISTIC: UF hit .500 (12-for-24) with runners in scoring position during their three regional games.

QUOTEABLES:

Head Coach Tim Walton

Opening statement…
“Congratulations to South Alabama and obviously the great games they had last night, yesterday and their season… Olivia Lackie obviously had a really, really outstanding career. And thanks to our fans, the fans did a great job coming out supporting us, and now we need you guys again next weekend. So whatever day – Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, whatever it works out to be – looking forward to getting out here and being loud and getting us to the College World Series.”

Ava Brown – Freshman – Pitcher/1B

On choosing Florida…
“You choose to come to a program like this because you want to win. That’s what this program does. They have a standard. Our team has been one of the first teams in a really long time that, I feel like, you have truly focused on that standard and really tried to make it everything that we play for. So, being able to do that and grow as a team, even with so many new girls, I think that’s definitely what you look for whenever you come to a program like this. Being able to have these experiences.”

NOTABLES:

  • Florida advanced to its 15th NCAA Super Regional in program history with today’s win over South Alabama.
    • This was the second time in program history that UF has defeated USA in the NCAA Gainesville Regional finals, with the last time occurring in 2021.
  • The Gators are currently riding a six-game postseason win streak, which is tied for the sixth longest streak in program history.
    • 2009 – 11 Games
    • 2015 – 9 Games
    • 2019 – 8 Games
    • 2013 – 8 Games
    • 2018 – 7 Games
    • 2016 – 6 Games
    • 2024 – 6 Games
  • Skylar Wallace scored the 302n.d. run of her career, which ties the NCAA career record for runs scored and is tied with Michigan’s Sierra Romero (2013-160).
  • Jocelyn Erickson produced three RBI in today’s win, which puts her at 78 on the season and is now just two RBI shy of tying Megan Bush’s UF single-season record of 80 RBI that she set in 2011.

UP NEXT: Florida (49-12) will host its first Super Region since 2021, with Baylor (35-21) coming to Gainesville. The Bears won the if necessary elimination game 4-3 against No.13-seed Louisiana in Lafayette, Louisiana, after the Ragin’ Cajuns won 13-0 in their first Sunday meeting.

 
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