Sunday, December 17, 2017
Colleges

Florida ousts USF to win NCAA softball region

GAINESVILLE — It was the classic pitchers' duel between Florida and USF on Sunday afternoon, as Bulls ace Sara Nevins and the Gators' Hannah Rogers battled in near-90 degree temperatures.

But the team that won simply made the fewest mistakes.

Nevins (26-9) gave up just one hit, but two crucial mistakes in the fourth sealed the Bulls' fate. The junior standout walked in a run, then allowed another to score when she hit batter Taylore Fuller, leading to Florida's 2-0 win in the NCAA Gainesville Region.

Florida (55-7) advanced to its sixth Super Region. The second-seeded Gators will host Alabama-Birmingham this weekend in a best-of-three series for a trip to the College World Series.

"I think that's probably exactly the way you thought that game was going to go, two quality pitchers going at each other, and two good young teams," UF coach Tim Walton said. "I thought that was a really good game. Obviously I'm very proud of my players. Hannah was awesome in the circle and defensively did a really nice job. And Sara today was really, really good. She was as tough as she's been on us in a couple of years. She was throwing some really good pitches."

Nevins, the former Pinellas Park High star who had a no-hitter until Kelsey Stewart's single to left in the seventh, threw 6 1/3 innings, walked six and struck out six. Lindsey Richardson retired the final two batters.

While the Gators struggled at the plate, Rogers (31-5) kept them in the game by going seven innings, giving up three hits with five strikeouts. She said pitching against a player of Nevins' caliber improves her game.

"It's like a pitchers' matchup, and you're fighting for every pitch and every out throughout the whole game," Rogers said.

The Bulls (45-16) scored just four runs in four games, and coach Ken Eriksen said it just wasn't a good enough performance to win.

"It's about playing great defense, great pitching and timely hitting, and we did not have the timely hitting," Eriksen said. "Untimely hitting today, we hit the balls at them, but good teams make those plays. So you have to play fantastic ball in the postseason. We played very good ball, but we didn't play fantastic ball. And the University of Florida played fantastic ball. And I feel they are going to get better as the regionals go on. It's not hard at my age to figure out that they are a contender for the national championship game."

FSU advances as well

MOBILE, Ala. — Florida State reached the Super Region round, shaking off a loss to South Alabama in the opener and erasing a six-run deficit in the second game to defeat the host Jaguars 7-6 in eight innings for the Mobile Region championship.

FSU scored five runs in the top of the seventh inning to tie it then got the winning run across in the eighth on Victoria East's home run.

The Seminoles (44-17) face No. 4 seed Texas this week.

Tampa baseball bashes way into World Series

TAMPA — Host and top seed Tampa routed West Florida 20-7, bouncing back after losing 7-2, to win the South Region and clinch a berth in the Division II championships.

The Spartans (43-11) face Coker (S.C.) College on May 26 in their opening game of the eight-team championship tournament in Cary, N.C.

Tampa senior third baseman Jake Schrader had two home runs and six RBIs in the two games combined. Outfielder Zach Gawrych had five hits for the day, including a 4-for-5 performance in the second game.

Adam Pendleton was named the most valuable player of the tournament, with three RBIs in Game 2.

More baseball: Florida State, the No. 2 seed in this week's ACC tournament, opens against No. 7 seed Georgia Tech at 11 a.m. Wednesday, the first game in pool play in Durham, N.C. The Seminoles (44-11, 20-10) face No. 6 Virginia Tech at 7 p.m. Thursday then No. 3 Virginia at 11 a.m. Saturday. No. 8 seed Miami (35-21, 14-16) faces No. 1 North Carolina at 3 p.m. Thursday, No. 4 North Carolina State at 11 a.m. Friday and No. 5 Clemson at 3 p.m. Saturday. The final is Sunday.

Tennis: No. 1 seed Florida defeated No. 8 California 4-2 in the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals in Champaign, Ill. Lauren Embree, who is No. 1 in the country in the ITA singles rankings, defeated eighth-ranked Anett Schutting 6-2, 6-0 at No. 1 singles. The Gators (26-2) face No. 12 seed Stanford at 6 tonight in the semifinals. No. 6 seed Miami lost 4-0 to No. 3 Texas A&M.

Antonya English can be reached at [email protected] Information from Times wires was used in this report.

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