The Florida Gators are officially the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament and this weekend the Gators will start its road back to the Women’s College World Series when they host the Gainesville regional.
Florida did the unthinkable this year by going undefeated throughout a tough nonconference schedule and that undefeated record will be put to the test this weekend when the ladies welcome three other teams to Gainesville.
While the teams heading to Gainesville may not be the tough opponents that Florida faced in the regular season, they will sure be fighting to knock off the defending national champions as the winner of the Gainesville regional will move onto the Super Regionals next weekend.
Teams in the Regional:
No. 2 seed Hofstra: Hofstra enters the tournament with the No. 13 RPI in the country and have a 37-12-1 record this season but are 0-8 against Florida all-time. Hofstra made news two years ago when they knocked off UCLA in Los Angeles in the NCAA tournament.
No. 3 seed Florida Atlantic: FAU is 37-17-1 on the year but have a 5-7 record against FAU all-time. FAU plays in a tough Sun Belt conference, so the competition this weekend definitely won’t scare off the Owls.
No. 4 seed Florida A&M: The Lady Rattlers won an automatic trip to the NCAA tournament by winning the MEAC championship last week with a 2-0 win over Bethune-Cookman. A&M is 18-37 on the year but is 0-12 against Florida all-time.
In the batter’s box:
Florida enters the tournament with a .312 average, hitting 70 home runs and having an on base percentage of .535 this season.
Hofstra enters with a .289 batting average and have hit 43 long balls but only have an on base percentage of .453 this year.
FAU enters with a .287 batting average and have only hit 23 home runs this year.
FAMU has a .242 batting average with 12 home runs and a .304 on base percentage while striking out 251 times this year.
In the circle:
Florida now sports a 1.84 ERA and have struck out an impressive 409 batters this year.
Hofstra enters with a 1.98 ERA and has thrown 25 complete games and have given up 27 home runs this year.
FAU has an impressive 1.86 ERA this season and have thrown 34 complete games while allowing 27 home runs this year.
FAMU has a 4.57 ERA this year with 30 complete games but have allowed 29 home runs this season.
Players to watch:
For Florida the Gators will rely on Lauren Haeger on the mound, as she’s 24-1 with a 1.47 ERA and has also hit 15 home runs while hitting .331 this year.
Kelsey Stewart will lead off for Florida and she brings in her .454 batting average and nine triples for the Gators.
Hofstra is led in circle by Morgan Lashley as she has a 19-2 record and a 1.95 ERA while completing 12 games this year.
FAU will rely on Emily Lochten who is hitting .373 this year with 3 home runs and 34 RBI’s while walking 33 times.
FAMU will likely throw Keny Pereira on Friday as she enters with a 15-14 record and a 3.27 ERA while throwing 18 complete games.
This weekend’s regional will be televised by ESPN 3 all weekend and it should be a fun weekend for the Gators softball team. Here’s the schedule for this weekend.
Friday, May 15
- Hofstra vs. Florida Atlantic, 3:30 p.m.
- Florida vs. Florida A&M, 6 p.m.
Saturday, May 16
- Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2, 1 p.m.
- Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2, 3:30 p.m.
- Loser Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4, 6 p.m.
Sunday, May 17
- Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 5, 1 p.m.
- Game 7 (if necessary), 3:30 p.m.