The Gators magical softball season came to an end Tuesday night as the Arizona State Sun Devils defeated the Gators 7-2 to win the National Championship. The Gators played the Sun Devils much tougher than they did in Monday's 14-4 loss, but just couldn't break through offensively against ASU freshman hurler Dallas Escobedo.
The Gators jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the first thanks to Series Co-MVP Michelle Moultrie's leadoff double, a sacrifice bunt by Tiffany DeFelice and a sacrifice fly by Brittany Schutte. But the ASU bats came to life again in the second, as the Sun Devils plated three runs on three hits against Florida senior starter Stephanie Brombacher.
Arizona State added two more in the third to take a commanding 5-1 lead before extending the lead to 6-1 with a run in the fifth. ASU added an exclamation point in the sixth with a towering home run to left by Annie Lockwood to make it 7-1. The Gators scored a run in the seventh when DeFelice singled in Ensley Gammel to arrive at the final 7-2 score.
The Gators again had difficulty hitting Escobedo, who finishes the season with a 37-3 record, and pitched every inning of the WCWS tournament for the Sun Devils. Escobdeo (who shared Co-MVP honors with Moultrie) becomes the first freshman pitcher since 1990 to win a WCWS title for her team. The ASU championship is their second in the past four years.
Despite the loss, the Gators certainly left their mark on the WCWS this season. Moultrie tied WCWS records with 4 home runs and 13 hits. Senior Kelsey Bruder scored a tournament record 10 runs. Bruder, Schutte and Cheyenne Coyle all joined Moultrie in being named to the 2011 WCWS All-Tournament Team.
This year's team set 30 UF records and Florida’s five seniors, Bruder, DeFelice, Megan Bush, Brumbacher and Aja Paculba leave the program as the most successful class in Florida history, boasting a 238-33 (.878) overall record and a 94-13 (.878) record in SEC play. The Gators finish the season at 56-13 and earned a trip to the WCWS for an SEC-record fourth consecutive season.