OKLAHOMA CITY — Two SEC softball rivals meet again today with plenty on the line.
In April, Alabama swept a series from Florida in Gainesville en route to winning the SEC regular-season title.
On May 11 in College Station, Texas, Florida defeated Alabama 2-1 to win the SEC tournament title.
Today at 6:20 p.m. ET at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium, the Gators (49-17) and Crimson Tide (57-9) play for the right to remain in the Women’s College World Series. The winner plays in another elimination game vs. Arizona (48-13) at 11:40 p.m. today. The loser goes home.
Both teams hope to overcome disappointing opening-round losses from Thursday — fifth-seeded UF from a 2-1 setback to 13 seed Oklahoma State and eighth-seeded Bama from a 3-2 decision to top-seeded Oklahoma.
“I just think we need to flush it and just be more competitive,” UF senior All-American Amanda Lorenz said Thursday night. “We have nothing to lose. I think the day off will be good for us, just to focus on the Gators, on what we can do better to be more successful next game.”
Senior UF pitcher Kelly Barnhill (34-13), who was the tough-luck loser Thursday after allowing only two hits, agrees.
“Just flushing it, going on to the next game,” Barnhill said. “You can’t control what happened in the past. All you can control is what happens in the future.”
Florida coach Tim Walton said the team won’t have a different mindset than what it has been while going 9-2 this postseason.
“I think it’s just about players being able to do what players do,” Walton said. “Great players step up and are great in Oklahoma City. I think that’s the key. We’re going to have players that step up, really enjoy competing, not dread the fact they might lose and return home without winning a game in Oklahoma City.
“I think really it’s all about the players. It’s player driven. I’ve done a good job of staying out of their way the entire year. Let them play softball, do what they can do. We don’t do anything fancy. Pitch and play good defense, get a couple hits here or there. It’s the personnel we have. I think we’ve identified exactly who we are. We just have to be a little bit better version of that on Saturday.”
What: Women’s College World Series elimination game
When: 6:20 p.m. following a 3-hour lightning delay
Where: ASA Hall of Fame Stadium, Oklahoma City
Who: Florida (49-17) vs. Alabama (57-9)
Got to hit the ball to win!!!!!!
Hopefully, the Gators will be a little bit better version of themselves today. That needs to include hitting, as gatorhopeful points out.
It was interesting during Thursday’s game to hear Jessica Mendoza (I think) talking about how Jordan Roberts should approach her at-bats following her homerun. Since she’d hit an outside pitch, Mendoza said she should be expecting to be pitched inside and should sit on a pitch to turn on. Mendoza’s point was that she thought that understanding was lacking. Whether it was lacking or not, that type of understanding helps separate the good from the great, and since that’s what OKC is all about, it needs to be there.
Play hard; play smart. Go Gators!!!