The No. 3-ranked Florida softball team appears to be peaking at the perfect time. The Gators swept the Pac-10's No. 11-ranked Oregon Ducks this past weekend to advance to the Women's College World Series for an SEC record fourth consecutive year. Florida won Friday's opener 9-1 behind a pair of two-run homers by sophomore Brittany Schutte, who also scored the ninth run to end the game in the fifth inning under the NCAA run rule.
Amidst Friday's barrage, the Gators also made quite a dent in the SEC record book:
Schutte’s two home runs Friday tied the 2011 squad for the Florida and SEC single-season home runs record at 109, a mark also achieved by the 2010 Gator team. Junior Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) stole her 27th base of the season, tying her with senior Aja Paculba’s (Wildomar, Fla.) single-season record, 27 stolen bases in 2009. In addition to senior Megan Bush’s (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) SEC record 64 career home runs, the team also holds the SEC single season RBI record with 427. Schuttenow ranks second on the squad in homers this season, with 19, just one shy of Bush’s UF single-season record 20, while Moultrie has tallied 27 of 30 stolen bases for the Orange and Blue in 2011.
Senior pitcher Stephanie Brombacher improved to 19-1 on the season by going three innings and allowing one run. Freshman Hannah Rogers came on to finish off the Ducks by throwing two shutout innings and notching three strikeouts.
On Sunday, coach Tim Walton gave Rogers the starting nod, and she responded by going the full seven innings and shutting out the Ducks 7-0. The win improved Rogers' record to 33-6 on the season. Brittany Schutte again made her presence felt by connecting with her third home run of the weekend, a three-run shot in the sixth inning, to put the game out of reach. Schutte's homer upped the Florida and the SEC single season team home run record to 110 and also placed her in a tie with teammate Megan Bush with a Florida record 20 home runs on the season. Meanwhile, junior Michelle Moultrie also etched her name in the UF record book by stealing her 28th base of the season. Moultrie went 3 for 4 on Sunday, scoring two runs and adding an RBI.
Florida and its five seniors now head to Oklahoma City for the Women's College World Series where, as the No. 4 seed, the Gators will first face off against the No. 5 seed Missouri Tigers Thursday night at 9:30 p.m. Eastern on ESPN2. The Arizona State Sun Devils and Oklahoma Sooners are also in the Gators' bracket, while the other bracket is comprised of the Alabama Crimson Tide, California Golden Bears, Oklahoma State Cowboys and Baylor Bears. Play continues through next weekend, concluding with the Championship Series scheduled for Monday, June 6 through Wednesday, June 8.