Gators look to rebound in WCWS elimination game

Florida players celebrate a 5-2 win over Arizona State during the NCAA softball super regional on Sunday, May 30, 2010, in Gainesville, Fla.

Brad McClenny/ Special to the Sun
Published: Friday, June 4, 2010 at 6:13 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, June 4, 2010 at 6:13 p.m.

OKLAHOMA CITY - There was plenty of time for reflection and angst for the Florida softball team on Friday. In the quirky format of the Women's College World Series, the losers get a day off while the winners play on.


WCWS elimination game

Who: Florida vs. Missouri

When: Saturday, noon

Where: Oklahoma City


Radio: 104.9 FM in Gainesville

On Saturday, the Gators return to the field where they have become a fixture and where they are fresh off a humiliating loss.

"We need a pretty big rebound," right fielder Kelsey Bruder said. "There were a couple of egos hurt. Our pride was hurt. We definitely want to go out there and create some proud memories for our seniors, not a 16-3 memory."

The Gators face Missouri on Saturday at noon in a loser-leaves-town game. The winner advances to play another elimination game Saturday night.

It's the same situation Florida faced two years ago when the Gators won three straight before losing an extra-inning game to Texas A&M.

"We know the road ahead," first baseman Megan Bush said. "We know what we have to do. It's a now or never deal. We have to go out and play like it's our last game ever."

It could be the last game as Gators for senior Francesca Enea and Corrie Brooks. But the big question going into Saturday is the mindset of a team that was run-ruled in its WCWS opener and dealt with the controversy of six illegal pitches.

"I don't think anything's changed," Florida coach Tim Walton said. "I don't think the pulse is any different at all. I don't know if we're going to come back and win it all, but we'll show better."

The shadow of the illegal pitches controversy is cast all over this College World Series. It was more than just Florida. Arizona struggled with the calls and was run-ruled by Tennessee.

So as Florida gets ready for Saturday's elimination game, there is still a concern over whether the umpires will be as picky about the rule with Stephanie Brombacher.

'I don't know what we can do," Walton said. "You can't give the best hitters in the country five and six outs an inning. We'll continue to adjust. We try to come at the game rather than letting the game come at us.

"Every year, we have something out here at the College World Series. One year was the obstruction rule. Then, it was the 10-second call with (Tennessee's) Monica Abbott. Then it was the pitching lanes. Every year we have some type of injustice for the players. I feel sorry for the people who have to watch it on TV. There's nothing wrong with the game. Leave it alone. I don't understand it."

The one silver lining in Thursday's loss was that - no matter how bad - it was only one loss.

"We all know what went wrong," Bush said. "At least it's double elimination. Our year's not over yet."

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