Gators softball team battle-tested heading into Gainesville Regional

Zach Abolverdi
Gator Sports
Florida starting pitcher Elizabeth Hightower is looking for better results this weekend at the NCAA Gainesville Regional at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.

For the 16th consecutive season, the Florida softball team will host an NCAA Regional this weekend. 

Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium should be a full house with capacity limits now lifted for 2021 spring championships. 

Joining the No. 4 Gators (42-9) will be Baylor (27-21), South Alabama (30-19) and South Florida (29-17). The double-elimination regional starts at 2 p.m. today, with UF facing the Bulls.

It will be the fifth matchup of the year between the in-state teams.

Florida won its season opener at USF and took the second game, 15-0, before sweeping a doubleheader with the Bulls at home on April 7. UF is 2-0 all-time vs. South Alabama and 5-6 against Baylor. 

The Gators are a battle-tested team heading into the postseason. They have a total of 12 comeback victories on the year, with walk-offs in three of their last four wins against Texas A&M (twice) and Missouri. 

Florida captured its league-leading ninth SEC regular-season championship and won all eight conference series on the schedule, including at No. 3 Alabama. 

“I don’t want anybody that watches the game to think that it’s easy to do what our kids can do. It’s hard as heck,” said Florida coach Tim Walton, who has earned a top-five seed in the NCAA Tournament for 13 years in a row. 

“They stay confident and figure out a way to get it going. So really happy for us to not get down on each other and really blame anybody for anything. I do think having those moments like that is going to be really, really beneficial.”

The Gainesville Regional runs through Sunday, and the Gators will have the opportunity to host an NCAA Super Regional should they advance this weekend. Florida would face the winner of the Athens Regional, which features No. 13 Duke, Georgia, UNC Greensboro and Western Kentucky.

Gainesville Regional

At Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium

Today

South Florida (29-17) vs. Florida (42-9), 2 p.m.

TV: Streaming and then move to SEC Network at the conclusion of the Kentucky-Northwestern game. Now it's on We are now on ESPNews. Radio: AM-850, 98.1-FM

Baylor (27-21) vs. South Alabama (30-19), 4:30 p.m.

Saturday

Friday's winners meet, 2 p.m.

Friday's losers, 4:30 p.m.

Elimination game, 7 p.m.

Sunday

Final, 12 p.m.

If-necessary game, 2:30 p.m.

Tickets: Gators Ticket Office at 352-375-4683