Florida has put themselves in the worst possible position at the Women's College World Series. Not only would they have to defeat Missouri today at noon and Georgia at 7pm, UF would have to sweep two games on Sunday against Tennessee to reach the Championship Series.
Aside from a three-run inning, UF did not look like a title contending team. There was bad pitching, which wasn't helped by umpires who decided to insert themselves into the game via the illegal pitch rule. (To be fair, it has been happening in each game.) UF could not hit with runners on and they had three errors. The only good thing was the all-white uniforms.
Against Missouri, UF has to hope Stephanie Brombacher can keep her back foot down, which is the sign of a legal pitch. Brombacher is not a bad pitcher, but when you're worried that every pitch will be called a ball because of an overexcited third base umpire, you cannot be a good pitcher. Just as Brombacher needs to get in the game, so does Francesca Enea. The notion of "doing it for the seniors" is a little ridiculous. But if Enea can snap out of her funk, even with a base hit, it changes the thinking of the entire team.
Change as to start at the top too. Tim Walton is a great coach and he is to UF softball what Billy Donovan or Steve Spurrier were to their sports. But it bothers me how upset he is about illegal pitch calls. During the ESPN broadcast, he said the Gators were being "cheated" by the calls. Speaking to the Gainesville Sun, he had a defeatist attitude about it.
"I don't know what we can do," Walton said. "You can't give the best hitters in the country five and six outs an inning. We'll continue to adjust. We try to come at the game rather than letting the game come at us.
"Every year, we have something out here at the College World Series. One year was the obstruction rule. Then, it was the 10-second call with (Tennessee's) Monica Abbott. Then it was the pitching lanes. Every year we have some type of injustice for the players. I feel sorry for the people who have to watch it on TV. There's nothing wrong with the game. Leave it alone. I don't understand it."
Everyone thinks the rule is garbage. But if the players see Walton upset about it, and reacting how he has, who is that helping? Players and fans can freak out about bad calls, not the manager in a postseason game. He has to be the most confident and stable person in the world. Between UF's pitching and Enea's slump, there are a lot of fragile psyches in that locker room. Walton cannot be one of them.