The No. 2 ranked Florida Gators (49-5, 18-5) softball team won the SEC championship on Sunday but lost its No. 1 ranking after a loss that ended the Gators long winning streak.
The Gators won their fifth SEC championship but will look to go further in the SEC tournament this year after losing on day one to Georgia last season.
Florida will enter the tournament with the No. 1 seed and have a bye until Thursday as they had to wait on the Texas A&M/South Carolina winner on Wednesday. Florida will play South Carolina on Thursday after they defeated Texas A&M.
If the bracket plays out with the top seeds advancing, the Gators are likely looking at a Friday matchup against the 4 seed LSU Tigers who took 2 out of 3 from Florida in Gainesville this year. The big thing is that LSU will have the home field advantage as the tournament is in Baton Rouge this year.
The two-seed is Auburn, who Florida didn’t face this year, and the three-seed is Alabama, who Florida took two out of three from in Tuscaloosa this year. One of those two teams are likely to make an appearance in Saturday’s championship game.
In the batter’s box:
Florida hit .313 this year and hit 68 home runs. The ladies also led the SEC in hit by pitches with 103 this season. The Gators bats have been hot as of late and that has a lot to do with the batting average rising. Florida will need to be able to put together some big innings this weekend and that will hold especially true if they play LSU on Friday.
In the circle:
The Gators come in with a 1.84 ERA and 30 complete games, which is third best in the conference. The Gators also have six saves on the year and have struck 399 batters while walking just 81 this season. Florida leads the conference in both of those categories.
Players to watch:
Kelsey Stewart was just named SEC player of the year after she hit .452 with eight triples and 16 doubles this year while batting lead off for the Gators.
Lauren Haeger was named SEC pitcher of the year this year as she completed the regular season with a perfect 23-0 record and 1.46 ERA while throwing 16 complete games. Haeger also got the job done at the plate as she hit 15 home runs and drove in 59 runs while hitting .344 on the year.
Conference tournaments are always fun and this weekend is sure to be the same and the Gators will get underway on Thursday. Here’s the schedule for games that Florida will/could appear in.
Thursday at 3:00 P.M. on SEC Network
Friday at 4:30 P.M. on ESPNU
Saturday at 7:00 P.M. on ESPN (championship game)