Monday, February 19, 2018
Colleges

Gators out of softball World Series

OKLAHOMA CITY — After playing a 15-inning softball marathon late Saturday to stave off elimination, second-seeded Florida ran into a quick turnaround at the Women's College World Series. To make matters worse, the Gators had to face NCAA strikeout leader Blaire Luna.

Luna struck out 14 in a one-hit shutout, Kim Bruins hit a three-run homer and fourth-seeded Texas eliminated Florida 3-0 Sunday afternoon.

Luna, the nation's strikeout leader, gave up only a one-out single to Taylore Fuller in the fourth inning. UF (58-9) was playing about 12 hours after beating Nebraska 9-8 in the fifth World Series game ever to go 15 innings or longer.

"I really don't think that had anything to do with (Sunday's) performance," Gators coach Tim Walton said. "I think Blaire Luna had everything to do with (Sunday's) performance more than anything."

Luna didn't make it out of the third inning during the Longhorns' 10-2 loss to rival Oklahoma on Saturday. But she was in command against Florida.

"I was really proud of how I did and just bouncing back. It's the World Series. That's what it's about," Luna said. "I did a lot better job of mixing and it worked to my advantage."

UF's Hannah Rogers (33-7) gave up five hits and walked four but couldn't match Luna.

"She had a really good backdoor curve that was just getting the corner," Gators cleanup hitter Lauren Haeger said. "The umpire was calling it, so the whole game it was very consistent, so we needed to make adjustments to it."

Tennessee (52-10) later became the first team to reach the best-of-three championship final when Lauren Gibson hit a solo homer in the first inning and the Renfroe sisters, Ellen and Ivy, combined on a 2-1 five-hit victory over Texas (50-10).

Luna (32-7) struck out 12 in her second complete game of the day. She forced in a run in the sixth when she hit Cheyanne Tarango with a pitch and issued three walks.

Washington (45-16) eliminated Michigan (51-12) 4-1 and advanced to play a late game against Oklahoma (53-4). The Huskies need to beat the Sooners twice to reach the finals.

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