Women’s College World Series: Gators upset top-seeded Ducks, 4-0


Riding their monster 11-0 win over the Lady Bears Thursday night, the Florida Gators shut down the top overall seed Oregon Ducks to advance to Sunday of the WCWS.

Florida head coach Tim Walton, yet again, did not have too many complaints with his girls beating the Ducks, 4-0. Florida will get to kick back Saturday and watch six other schools fight for their postseason lives.

“We came out with a good plan and executed a good plan and I think it all sounds great,” Coach Walton said. “But Hannah [Rodgers] pitched a great game and that’s why we’re here right now.”

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Hannah Rodgers struck out five and only allowed three hits in seven innings. She pitched another shutout, and it came against college softball’s top ranked team.

“It boosts my confidence, because Oregon is a great team,” Rodgers said. “Going into the next game and staying with the same game plan and focusing on the location and hitting certain spots for each batter.”

Not only Rodgers, but it was a big day for Florida’s Bailey Castro. With her first at-bat of the day, Castro blasted a Cheridan Hawkins pitch to center field in the second inning.

“I got a good pitch and I took a hack,” Castro said following the game. “That’s kinda my thing. I take hacks. Felt nice coming off the bat, smiling all the way for sure.”

Castro would help extend the Gators’ lead in the third with an RBI single that allowed Kelsey Stewart to find home plate.

Briana Little continued Florida’s early hot-hitting with an RBI double with Castro and Kirsti Merritt picking up two more runs for the Gators.

All-American pitcher Cheridan Hawkins was not herself Friday evening. She allowed five hits and four runs in 3.1 innings pitched. Oregon head coach Mike White pulled her in the fourth, letting Karissa Hovinga to finish the game for the Ducks.

“I definitely think I could have hit my corners a lot better and mixed better today than I did today,” Hawkins said. “I think it was definitely more of a mental error.”

Florida’s bats cooled off, but other than a Courtney Ceo bunt, Oregon could not rally and are one loss away from elimination.

The Gators’ opponent is for very much in question, but the Ducks will play at 8:30 pm Saturday night against the winner of the Oklahoma, UL-Lafayette game.

The good news for the Ducks is they won’t have to face a superb Hannah Rodgers, who is having a great WCWS performance. However, the Ducks will have to stop two high-powered offenses in order to get to Sunday.

“Whoever is left in this tournament are great teams,” Oregon head coach Mike White said. “So it’s going to be an exciting match‑up.  As I told the ladies, the toughest game for us is the next game.  It always is after a loss. It’s how you bounce back.  We got “handled” to tell you the truth. [Florida] deserved to win the game.”

Saturday will be exciting with four teams going home and two joining Florida and the winner of Alabama and Kentucky.

For all your WCWS coverage, follow @StormininNorman for updates from Oklahoma City.