Florida knocks off Oregon at the WCWS

Special to GC

OKLAHOMA CITY - The University of Florida softball team defeated No. 1 seed Oregon, 4-0, on Friday at the Women's College World Series. The Gators shut out their third straight opponent dating back to Sunday's regional final victory over Washington, and senior right-hander Hannah Rogers held the Ducks to a season-low three hits.

Kelsey Stewart was hit by the second pitch of the game, but she was stranded at first. Rogers struck out Oregon's leadoff batter in the bottom of the first on her way to a 1-2-3 inning. Bailey Castro put the Gators (52-12) ahead with a home run to center field to lead off the second, and the Gators' defense turned an inning-ending double play in the home half following a one-out single by the Ducks (55-8-1).

Florida had two baserunners to start the third when Stewart singled up the middle and Kirsti Merritt walked. Castro produced again when she laced a two-out base hit to left to score Stewart, pushing the Florida lead to 2-0. Briana Little followed with a bloop to shallow right that the Oregon second baseman lost in the sun, resulting in an RBI double that plated Merritt and Castro.

Staked to a 4-0 lead, Rogers (28-8) allowed a two-out single in the third before ending the inning with a strikeout. Kathlyn Medina walked to start the fourth, and Stewart and Merritt followed with singles to load the bases for Lauren Haeger. The junior reached on a fielder's choice, but KathlynMedina was forced out at home on the play before a flyout by Stephanie Tofft ended the inning. Rogers set down the Ducks in order in the bottom of the fourth.

Castro had a leadoff single to start the fifth, but she was left at first. Rogers allowed a two-out walk in the bottom of the frame before strandingthe runner. Merritt laced a two-out single through the right side in the sixth, but she was unable to advance. Oregon's leadoff hitter had a bunt single with one out in the sixth, but Florida's senior hurler caught a comebacker to start an inning-ending double play.

Florida was retired in order in the top of the seventh before Rogers set the Ducks down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the inning to secure a berth in the WCWS semifinals.
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Andrew Spivey
Andrew always knew he wanted to be involved with sports in some capacity. He began by coaching high school football for six years before deciding to pursue a career in journalism. While coaching, he was a part of two state semifinal teams in the state of Alabama. Given his past coaching experience, he figured covering recruiting would be a perfect fit. He began his career as an intern for Rivals.com, covering University of Florida football recruiting. After interning with Rivals for six months, he joined the Gator Country family as a recruiting analyst. Andrew enjoys spending his free time on the golf course and watching his beloved Atlanta Braves. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewSpiveyGC.