Gators go dancing: Florida softball secures spot in NCAA Tournament

Ainslie Lee
The Gainesville Sun

For the first time since head coach Tim Walton took the helm of Florida softball in 2006, the Gators are on the road for the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Florida will head west to open its postseason as the Gators were paired with No. 9 Stanford, Long Beach State and Loyola Marymount in the Stanford regional.

To get their NCAA Tournament run going, the Gators draw a date with the Loyola Marymount Lions (27-20), who earned a tournament bid after winning their second consecutive West Coast Conference championship Saturday night.

Florida and Loyola-Marymount will meet at Stanford's Boyd and Jill Smith Family Stadium on Friday at 6 p.m. The game will be broadcasted on ESPN+.

Meanwhile, the hosting Cardinal will battle Long Beach State in their first matchup.

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Florida's resume, despite being less attractive than in previous years, was enough for the Gators to secure an at-large bid, keeping their hopes of reaching their second consecutive Women's College World Series alive. Last season, Florida slid into Oklahoma City, where the Gators were eliminated by UCLA.

In order to return to Oklahoma City, the Gators will have to survive the Stanford regional, which is double elimination. And should Florida escape Palo Alto, the Gators will head to a Super Regional, which are set to run May 26-28.

The Women's College World Series is set for June 1 through June 9.