GAINESVILLE — When Florida shortstop Katie Medina walked up to the plate in the bottom of the seventh inning Saturday, the game between the Gators and Alabama-Birmingham was tied, the bases loaded.
And Medina was 0-for-16 dating back nearly a month.
But the 5-foot-4 sophomore broke that slump with a single to left, scoring Durant High graduate Kelsey Horton and giving Florida a 4-3 victory in the NCAA softball Super Region.
The No. 2 seed Gators are one win from advancing to the Women's College World Series. Florida (56-7) and UAB (40-18) play today at noon. The Blazers need to win twice to advance.
"I just went up there looking for a pitch to drive," Medina said. "The pitchers from the other team were throwing an outstanding game. I just went up there confident."
UF overcame a sixth-inning, two-out rally by the Blazers. On what appeared to be a routine fly, first baseman Taylor Schwarz lost the ball in the sun, but it rolled foul. That gave UAB new life, and the Blazers eventually took a 3-2 lead on a single by Gaither alum Kristen McGrath.
"Give our kids credit, it's easy to fold the tent right there going down by one," UF coach Tim Walton said. "Katie just missed catching that little line drive. But give our kids credit. They are tough. They don't want to lose."
Florida earned its 21st come-from-behind win in the seventh as reliever Leigh Streetman hit two batters, one with the bases loaded to bring in the tying run.
"She is just one of our most mentally sound, not just pitchers but players, and she's the person that I want out there in that situation," UAB coach Marla Townsend said. "Understand, that's not what we came here for. We did not come here for some moral victory, we came here to win the ball game."
FSU loses opener: Florida State lost Game 1 at Texas 3-2 as the Longhorns erased a 2-0 deficit. Freshman Victoria East doubled in both runs for FSU (44-18) in the third inning. Texas (47-8) scored a run each in the fourth, fifth and sixth. The Seminoles must win twice today to advance.
Antonya English can be reached at email@example.com.