Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
We inform. You decide.
Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Last season, the UF softball team enjoyed unprecedented success, losing only two regular-season games and reaching the Women's College World Series for the first time in program history.

At 55-3, the No. 1 Gators find themselves in almost the same position this year, but this time around, UF will enter the NCAA Tournament with a slightly different mindset.

This team has already made a run deep into the postseason, as it reached the semifinals of the WCWS last year, and the Gators started this season with a national championship as their ultimate goal.

"Last year, it was a different feel. This team's on a mission," UF coach Tim Walton said. "We want to get better &ndash I'm not talking about wins and losses, just about getting better."

With the final objective in mind, UF will host NCAA Regional play in Gainesville starting Friday. Florida A&M (30-30), Lehigh (36-16-1) and Texas A&M (31-19), which ended UF's postseason run last year, round out the double-elimination bracket.

The Gators will first face the Rattlers at 6 p.m. on Friday, with the Aggies and Mountain Hawks kicking off the weekend at 3:30 p.m.

The winners of Friday's games will meet at 1 p.m. on Saturday, followed by the losing teams at 3:30 p.m. The losing team from the 1 p.m. game and the winning team from the 3:30 game will meet at 6 p.m.

The championship game will take place at 1 p.m. on Sunday, and if necessary, a second game will be played at 3:30 p.m.

By putting up 19 runs during the final two games of the Southeastern Conference Tournament, the Gators have shown that their bats are as hot as they have been all season.

The only area of concern entering the postseason will be the team's performance in the field, as UF committed four errors over the last two games.

"We have to work on a little bit of defense &ndash that's mainly what we need to focus on &ndash but everything's going in the right direction," right fielder Kelsey Bruder said.

With the Gators currently on a 21-game winning streak, complacency would be an issue for many teams. But even at the Southeastern Conference Tournament, where a loss would have had virtually no effect on its postseason destiny, UF remained focused on winning every game.

Enjoy what you're reading? Get content from The Alligator delivered to your inbox

"It means that we finished out strong, that we beat every team that we stepped on the field to face," left fielder Francesca Enea said of the importance of winning the tournament title. "It's more about pride and showing other teams who we are."

BRUDER NAMED NATIONAL PLAYER OF THE WEEK: The Amateur Softball Association named Bruder its USA Softball Player of the Week on Tuesday for her performance in the SEC Tournament.

The sophomore right fielder, who was named to the All-Tournament Team as well as the All-SEC First Team and SEC All-Defensive Team, led the Gators with a .571 batting average in Knoxville, Tenn.

Bruder tallied four hits, 4 runs, two doubles, a home run and five RBIs at the tournament, putting up a 1.286 slugging percentage and .700 on-base percentage in the three-game tournament.

Support your local paper
Donate Today
The Independent Florida Alligator has been independent of the university since 1971, your donation today could help #SaveStudentNewsrooms. Please consider giving today.

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2024 The Independent Florida Alligator and Campus Communications, Inc.