(Andy Hutchins/SB Nation)
Florida softball couldn't quite pull off an upset of Alabama in Saturday's SEC Tournament final, losing 10-1 to the Crimson Tide (the hilarious GatorZone headline is hilarious). But the Gators are still favored to return to the Women's College World Series for the fifth straight year, and have been given the No. 5 national seed for the 2012 NCAA Tournament, and will host the Gainesville Regional from May 18 to May 20.
That's a nice reward for a team that could not solve national No. 2 seed Alabama this season. The Crimson Tide rolled up 10 runs in the first four innings — eight off starter Lauren Haeger in the first three innings, and two more off staff ace Hannah Rogers in the fourth — to run-rule the Gators after five innings.
A Kasey Fagan RBI single in the second inning scored Jess Damico for Florida's only run of the day, and Haeger, Sami Fagan, and Cheyenne Coyle all made the SEC All-Tournament team, but the day mostly served to reinforce that the Gators are not in Alabama's class; Florida is 1-3 against the SEC champions this season, with the composite score of those four contests squarely in Alabama's favor at 25-8.
Fortunately for the Gators, they will not see Alabama on their road to Oklahoma City.
Florida begins its 2012 NCAA Tournament by hosting the Gainesville Regional beginning Friday, and will see familiar foes in it. The Gators play Florida Gulf Coast in Friday's first game, then will meet either USF or UCF — both of which own wins over Florida this season — in Saturday's second game. Regionals are double-elimination affairs, and Florida and USF, anchored by stud hurler Sara Nevins, would be my pick to meet in Sunday action.
If the Gators advance, they will host a Super Regional in Gainesville as well, and meet the winner of the Los Angeles Regional, hosted by UCLA and featuring Florida State, San Diego State, and Hofstra.
Here are your ticketing guidelines for the Gainesville Regional, via GatorZone:
Florida fans can visit the Gator Ticket Office beginning Monday morning starting at 8:30 a.m. for ticket packages to this year’s 2012 NCAA Gainesville Regional. All session passes are $25 for adults and $10 for UF students, children 17 & under and seniors (55+). Single game tickets cost $10 for an adult ticket and $5 for UF students, children 17 & under and seniors (55+). For fans picking up tickets on game day, the purchaser’s picture ID is required to pick up tickets. For more information, please call the Ticket Office at 352-375-4683, ext. 6800.