Special to GC
OKLAHOMA CITY – Behind some stellar defense and another dominant performance from senior Lauren Haeger, the University of Florida softball team blanked LSU, 4-0, to reach the semifinals of the Women’s College World Series on Friday evening at Oklahoma City’s ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.
The National Player of Year lived up to that title once again as Haeger tossed seven scoreless innings in the circle and drove in the game’s first runs with a two-run home run in the fifth. The Peoria, Ariz. native now has 71 career wins and 70 career home runs. She was already the first Division I player in history to post 60+ in each category, and now she has 70.
By the way, Haeger joins Babe Ruth as the only player in Division 1 softball, baseball or Major League Baseball player to reach the 70-70 plateau.
Prior to Haeger’s homer that broke a scoreless tie in the fifth inning, each team left the bases loaded in the first and couldn’t find its rhythm. In the fifth, freshman Nicole DeWitt set the table for Haeger with an infield single. One inning later, DeWitt had her moment as she blasted her second-career home run.
UF tacked on an insurance run in the seventh on a couple of hits, aggressive base running and an LSU error. In the circle tonight, Haeger retired 19 of the final 21 Tiger hitters she faced and improved to 30-1 on the season.
STARS OF THE GAME
- Lauren Haeger: The right-hander allowed five hits over seven innings as she notched her 30th win of the season. In addition, she hit a two-run homer in the top of the fifth inning.
- Nicole DeWitt: The freshman launched her second home run of the season into the right-center field seats in the sixth.
- Katie Medina: The senior made a run-saving 6-3 double play to end the first inning and get the Gators out of a jam to keep the game scoreless.
- Florida is now 19-11 all-time at the WCWS.
- The Gators are now 66-32 all-time in the NCAA Tournament.
- During Tim Walton’s tenure as head coach, UF is 61-20 in NCAA play and 19-11 at the WCWS.
- The Gators are now 25-2 since April 1; the stretch includes 16 victories over ranked teams and 10 nonconference wins.
- LSU failed to score a run for just the third time this season.
- In the top of the fifth inning, Lauren Haeger extended her UF and SEC-career home run record to 70. The long ball was her second-career at the WCWS.
- The long ball was her second-career WCWS shot and her 11th-career NCAA Tourney blast.
- Haeger leads the team with three homers and seven RBI in the NCAA Tournament.
- Haegernow has 71 career wins and 70 career home runs; she is the only player in Division I history to post 60+ in each category, and now 70.
- Haeger joins Babe Ruth as the only player in Division 1 softball, baseball or Major League Baseball player to reach the 70-70 plateau.
- Kelsey Stewart extended her current hitting streak to seven games in the top of first inning with a triple to right center. She now has an 18-game NCAA Tournament hit streak dating back to last year.
- The triple was Stewart’s 27th-career three bagger which is a UF record.
- Aubree Munro (2-for-3) notched her third-career multi hit game in the NCAA Tournament.
- Nicole DeWitt launched her second-career homer in the sixth inning. Her only other long ball came at Georgia on April 18.