Oklahoma eliminates UF from Women’s College World Series

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Oklahoma players celebrate a run in the fifth inning Saturday as Florida pitcher Aleshia Ocasio walks back to the circle in the Women's College World Series elimination in Oklahoma City. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman via AP]

Special to Gatorsports.com

OKLAHOMA CITY — It was pitcher Paige Parker day Saturday at the Women’s College World Series.

Parker (31-3), fourth-seeded Oklahoma’s ace, allowed just two hits and two walks to help eliminate second-seed Florida 2-0. Parker, the four-time All-American and four-time Big 12 Pitcher of the Year, two-hit Arizona State 2-0 earlier Saturday to help oust the Sun Devils.

Florida, the SEC regular-season and tournament champion, saw its season end at 56-11. The Gators couldn’t solve Parker, who struck out eight, didn’t allow a base runner to reach second base and set down 13 of the last 14 batters she faced.

“There’s not a whole lot you can do when you’ve got a pitcher, strike one all day long,” UF coach Tim Walton said. “Not strike one with one pitch, but strike one inside, outside curve, changeup, bounced the changeup when she wanted to, featuring a little bit of a rise. She was good. I give her all the credit. She really did a wonderful job.

“We squared up a couple balls and hit a couple balls hard, but weren’t able to get enough elevation to the one that Jaimie Hoover hit, and then Amanda (Lorenz), the first changeup in the first inning.”

The Sooners (57-4) will need to beat Washington twice Sunday to reach the championship series.

Kelly Barnhill’s bugaboo this season again bit her in the first inning when freshman Jocelyn Alo drilled her 30th home run of the season. Barnhill (29-3), an All-American herself, has allowed 21 home runs this season, three in two games here. Alo tied the Division I single-season freshman record for home runs, most recently set by Oklahoma’s Lauren Chamberlain in 2012.

After issuing a walk to lead off the third inning, Walton replaced Barnhill with Aleshia Ocasio.

Oklahoma loaded the bases in the fifth inning with two outs. Florida walked Alo to bring up Shay Knighten. Though Knighten struck out, the pitch got away from catcher Janell Wheaton, allowing Caleigh Clifton to score and make it 2-0.

Seniors Kayli Kvistad and Wheaton had UF’s only hits, both singles.

It was the second straight year Parker has had a hand in finishing UF’s hopes of a national title. The Sooners swept the Gators in their best-of-three championship series to claim a second straight NCAA trophy last year.

The Sooners have won three of the past five national titles while Florida has won the other two. Oklahoma is trying to join UCLA as the only programs to win three straight national titles.

UF’s season ends at the WCWS for the ninth time in the last 11 seasons. The Gators will lament the events from Friday night’s UCLA game for a few days, a game they led 4-0 until the Bruins erupted for five runs on just one hit in the fourth inning. The Gators didn’t have a lead again to finish its tourney appearance.

Note: The Gators finished their season with 56 wins, the 10th 50+ win under Walton. Florida has won at least 50 games in each of the last six seasons. …

The 2018 senior class of Kvistad, Nicole DeWitt, Ocasio and Wheaton end their Florida career with a record of 230-35 (.867). The quartet of players have won one National Championship (2015), four SEC regular season championships (2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018) and one SEC Tournament Championship (2018). … Lorenz finished the season reaching base in all 67 games. A feat that has never been accomplished by a Florida softball player.

 

32 COMMENTS

  1. The game was over when Nicole Dewitt acted like a 5 year old after striking out and not running and when Kelly hung her head yet again after giving up the home run.. Great year but a sad lack of heart and fire when facing a little adversity. Need to really work on that part of the me before next year. Thanks to a great senior class!!!!

  2. No energy in the game. I was hoping to see an energized team ready to move on, instead we got the exact opposite. UF batters were watching to many strikes go by. It was a great season just not the ending we were looking for. Great job girls, keep your heads up and be proud of your accomplishments this season!

    • All sports is primarily mental and when the ref robbed them of the win against UCLA they clearly lost their mojo. A crooked ref put them out of the tourney with his actions. For those who dont know, the ref called a 3rd UCLA out, safe at home, which then allowed the next batter to go ahead with a HR. Then later when the gators had players on base he called 2 strikes on our best hitter that were clearly balls, to make sure they couldnt come back. Stuff like that can take you mentally right out and it did in this case!

  3. Congratulations on a great season overall.

    Having said that, I must also say that it came to a sad and disappointing end.

    Sad, to get bounced because of a terrible home plate umpire who blew a pivotal and clear call at the plate and who had a one sided strike zone favoring UCLA. Disappointing, because we expected more from this team. Better pitching and better hitting. Giving up the long ball was a problem all year, and lack of timely hitting and in some cases, no hitting at all.

    This team has too much talent to go out like this. Come back strong next year and play with fire. Until then.

  4. Congrat’s on a great season! But this team barely, with luck, even got into the WCWS, then played poorly; no energy or enthusiasm. Why work so hard all year to get to this point, then just shut down? Maybe that’s your Goal, Just to get to the WCWS, not to win more than 1 game. Very Disappointing!!!

  5. The Gators had another great season. Congratulations to the team and coaches but this proves that talent alone will only take you so far and then you have to have some fire, fight and determination. Life is going to slap you in the face just about everyday. How you react to adversity determines how successful you’re going to be.

  6. Can’t stop the chomp. Great job ladies. Outstanding season. Word is the home plate umpire in the UCLA game was also involved with games in other sports during his time as an official. Reviewing fumbles in 2003, and late hits on QB in 1996, against FSU. When the Gators are on, the only thing that stops them is the zebras. GO GATORS

  7. So Coach Tim Walton is possibly heading to Texas, according to the ladies on ESPN. And with the way the Gators handled adversity out there in O.K.C. (not very well), it may be true. I hope it isn’t! But while the Gators still had a chance today, they unfortunately looked like they were still sulking over Friday night.
    On the brighter side, one of the few Gators who played with ”Orange & Blue passion” was the right fielder, Hoover. But now it’s… ”Wait ’till next year! Go Gators!”

  8. Quit whining about the umpires call the night before, you people sound like FSU fans.
    Waltons coaching philosophy has always been patience in the box, it worked well all year, just came up short against a better team last night.
    If Walton goes to Texas, it’s because of the money, which they have plenty of, if he’s a Gator, he’ll stay in Gainesville, I’m sure they’ll counter the offer to get him to stay, but money talks.

    • Step off, fella. Bad calls are bad calls and they need to be acknowledged. Yea Barnhill was beginning to unravel a bit in that inning, but would have gotten out of it if not for a call where the HP ump put himself in the worst possible position to make the call. You are the one that sounds like an FSU fan. The Noles have been the beneficiaries of some of the most egregious calls in college sports, short of Colorado’s 5th down against Missouri.

  9. Gators showed once again that they don’t belong on the same field with OU. Congrats to OU, and here’s hoping the Gators can find a dominate pitcher. Barnhill is not going to cut it next year.

    • My goodness Mikey, but you are the south end of a northbound horse – It’s easy to understand your jealousy with the Gators having 40 NCs and the Noles what, like 10?

      Keep posting Buddy – it makes me prouder and more grateful to have graduated from UF – easily the best school in this state.

    • How can you say that about Barnhill. I mean she was 28-1 this year and that was in the SEC. Every pitcher hangs one every now and then and sometimes the hitter makes you pay. I don’t think you could find many pitchers who are better than her. If the Gators had hit better they would have won. If you can hold one of the top hitting teams in the country to two runs and don’t win, that’s not the pitcher’s fault. Kelly Barnhill is one of if not the best pitcher the Gators have ever had. Her record speaks for it self. Softball is a team sport. They just got out played bu they are still one of the best teams in the country.

    • What an asshat to comment about a program that clocks in annually in OK City. Very silly, illogical, uninformed…per usual. World Series appearances are like Final 4’s in hoops….the chips are bonuses, but getting there is a celebrated accomplishment.

      Then again…when you can’t even luck into one chip out of a zillion CWS appearances like Mike Martin…it can create the likes of losers like you that post on other fan boards.

  10. Can’t complain about this team or our coach. Gator’s had a great season with many joyous moments, and whatever Walton is doing works. Can’t argue with his record and two national championships. Sometime in sports the other team on any given day just does it better. Sometime things don’t go your way. It’s the beauty of competitive sports! Look forward to next season!

    • Exactly…to complain about this program is asinine. You can’t win them all…Oklahoma seems to have our number.

      Still…salute ladies ( and coaching staff) on another great, successful season and World Series run.

  11. The “patience at the plate”(taking first and second strikes down the middle, then having to swing at anything close with 2 strikes on you), trying desperately for walks, works against most teams, because most don’t have elite pitchers, and many teams will walk 8 or 9 a game. Won’t work against the Paige Parkers of the world.
    I felt UF was done with what happened in the 4th inning vs. UCLA, that was devastating. Yes, the ump totally screwed UF with the bad call, but remember Kelly started the debacle with another overhanded poor throw on a routine grounder(please throw underhanded, Kelly), then a HBP and 2 walks.The illegal pitch. She came unglued as she does when adversity hits. Maybe a sports psychologist can help, idk. The sad truth.

    • I agree with the comment about their approach to hitting. I always felt the team took too many good pitches trying to draw a walk. Especially with runners on base. It’s one thing to take pitches if the pitcher is wild and having a problem throwing strikes. But when you have runners on base you need hits to score runs. I also don’t like the idea of having one of your best hitters bunt with a runner on 1st and no outs. Let her hit. I just feel looking walks, instead of hits is being too passive. I like being aggressive.

  12. I agree that the Gators were to patient at the plate. Don’t understand how batter after batter stood there and watched first strike pitches go across the plate. Barnhill could benefit from bunting drills during the off-season by improving her throw to first base. Also, it seems to me that why be agressive with base running by stealing second when kvistad’s at bat but won’t let the girls be agressive at the plate. Florida is a great hitting team let loose for once. Go Gators!!!!

  13. Congrats to the Gators! Another awesome season! Living in ATL, our family really enjoyed following the team on Gatorsports.com, on TV, and in person. The softball team is one of the best programs in UF athletics thanks to one of the best coaches nationally. As Gator fans we are getting spoiled with their success (2 NC’s, 9 of 11 WCWS, countless SEC reg season and tournament titles). FL did not bring home the trophy this year but they still accomplished more than 95%+ of teams ,who would all take our success in a second, w/o hesitatation.

    FL needs to take all measues to keep Walton as our coach. We should be 100% behind this team with our support. Softball, like baseball, is a game of inches and some of the close plays did not fall our way this time…so no reason not to stay positive. This past year can become a learning opportunity for the team so we should let Coach W. do his job. We have a lot to look forward to in coming years!

    BTW, I have a feeling Oklahoma will defy the odds and hoist the trophy at the end. They have same roster as last year with addition of freshman Alo (30 HRs).

  14. I would really like to know why they don’t have official replay for close calls in these important games in the WCWS. I mean I know one bad call does not make a game, but when the technology is available why don’t they use it. Oh well the girls are still the SEC champs and had a good year. Got to be proud of them all.

  15. Tim Walton is as fine a coach and leader as the UF can ever hope to have lead their Softball program. He recruits nationally and very very successfully. He has earned my respect. Hoping he is able to get past the disappointments of the 2 losses and want to remain in Gainesville. He put UF on the college softball map.